The clocks usually go forward an hour on the last Sunday of March and then back an hour on the last Sunday of October as part of Daylight Saving Time (DST) – so don’t forget to put your clocks forward an hour this Sunday!
The clock change was introduced during WW1 by Germany, to save energy, conserve coal and make better use of daylight. The rest of the EU followed suit soon after. Contrary to popular belief, the clocks weren’t changed to help farmers. Most farmers opposed the change, as the cows needed to be milked every 12 hours regardless and they needed the sun to dry the dew off the crops before they could be picked.
The idea for DST came not from Benjamin Franklin, as believed, but from the great, great grandfather of Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin, William Willett. Willett was a builder who was irritated about the waste of daylight in the early mornings and wrote a pamphlet entitled, ‘The Waste of Daylight’ (thankfully, Chris Martin is a bit more creative with his song titles!) Sadly, however, Willett died a year before it came in to place.
An EU-wide survey in 2018 generated 4.6 million responses and found that 84% of people were in favour of ending the bi-annual changes.
The EU has now voted to cancel DST so will change the clocks for the last time in 2021.
The vote by the European Parliament passed by 410 votes to 192, with a final law to be produced after discussions with member nations. And, under an EU directive, all 28 states will choose to either make summer time or winter time permanent. These countries will join Hawaii, parts of Australia, China, Japan, Iceland and most of Africa, who don’t change the clocks.
Not everyone is against DST though. The BBQ industry loves it, allowing Dad to burn the burgers later into the evening. As does the Halloween industry, as the lighter evenings make it safer for children to trick or treat. However, don’t expect many good TV programmes to start during the summer, as people spend longer outside enjoying the sunshine, the major broadcasters avoid new prime-time shows, preferring to stick to repeats.
Smartphones and electrical devices will change automatically; however, watches and clocks around the home won’t. Remember, to change these to avoid being late come Monday morning!
The UK government has confirmed that it will stick with the current system after Brexit (whenever that may be!)
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