ON THE RECORD
RECORDED FROM TRANSMISSION BBC-1 DATE: 14.1.96
JOHN HUMPHRYS: Good afternoon and welcome to one of On
the Record's special debates with an audience here in the studio. On Wednesday
MPs will vote on whether to change our day, to give us darker mornings and
lighter evenings. Daylight robbery - as the critics claim - or Britain's big
chance to "lighten up" and brighten all our lives? We'll be debating - and
voting - on that after the news read by Chris Lowe.
HUMPHRYS: On Wednesday - or Friday in fact -
MPs will vote on a change in the law which could affect the lives of all of us:
whether to lighten the gloom of our winter evenings and have darker mornings.
No-one else in Europe does it the way we do and there's a private members'
bill which would bring us in line with the Continent. It has a much better
chance of becoming law than most private members' bills - the government's
allowing a free vote on it - but there's plenty of opposition, especially from
Scotland where the sun wouldn't come up until even later. In the next hour or
so we'll be looking at the arguments for and against.
We've two teams of MPs: the
Conservative John Butterfill (it's his bill) who's on the same side in this
case as the Labour MP George Foulkes. Against them: Nigel Evans, Conservative,
and Malcolm Bruce, Liberal Democrat. They will present their cases and
cross-examine each other. And our audience will join in, not, incidentally,
a representative cross-section of the British public because nearly a third of
them are from Scotland - not representative in any sense. I'll ask them in
a moment what they think, but first let's hear what it would mean in practical
terms from a man who's well used to standing in front of the map of the
IAN McCASKILL: Hello, it's not just the weather that's
important to us all, it's the length of daytime as well. Let's have a look at
some sunrise and sunset times. I've chosen the day - 21st December 1996 - the
shortest day of the year. The sun rises in London just after eight o'clock in
the morning but doesn't rise up in Birmingham until quarter past eight, it
doesn't rise in Newcastle until half past eight, and then it's quarter to nine
before it gets up in Edinburgh. Further north still, it's even later, nearly
nine o'clock in the morning in Inverness and up in Shetland at Haroldswick
it doesn't rise til quarter past nine in the morning. So if lights off time
is half an hour before that typically, then at sunset, we'll look at sunsets
now, lights are on half an hour after these times but it'll give you an idea of
the length of daylight including twilight. The sunset in Haroldswick
cruel, cruel, cruel at two fifty, a very short day indeed up there in the
afternoon. Coming down that west side, it sets in Manchester at three fifty-one
in the afternoon. In Aberystwyth in west Wales it doesn't set until five past
four and then at Penzance in the West Country it sets at twenty two minutes
You can see, I think the difference in
day light, the considerable difference from the south to the north. Down in
the south, eight o'clock it rises, half past four it sets, eight hours plus of
daylight, plus twilight hours. But up in the north, up in the northern isles,
well there's a day length of about four and a half hours plus a little bit of
twilight as well. A considerable difference. Now if you move the clock
forward an hour, alright the sun doesn't get up in London until nine odds in
the morning but it doesn't get up in Shetland until practically eleven o'clock
in the morning. There is a benefit as well, you do have an extra hour of
evening sunshine as well but the sunrise time perhaps the most significant one
from that point of view. That's it, make up your own mind.
HUMPHRYS: Right, well that's the effect that the
new law would have. Now when we've heard all the arguments I'm going to ask
our audience to vote for or against but let's see what they think now before
we've gone into it in some detail. So if you wouldn't mind ladies and
gentlemen pressing your buttons to tell us whether you are for a change in the
law, whether you are against a change in the law or whether you are undecided.
Would you press your buttons now please.
And let me just reiterate that this is
not a representative audience in any sense, heavily weighted to Scotland for
obvious reasons and not withstanding that let's see what they think. Well
there we are: thirty-seven per cent are in favour, pretty well evenly
balanced. Thirty-seven in favour, thirty-six against and fairly heavy,
twenty-seven per cent undecided.
Right - why? Let's try and have a quick
look at that. Who voted in favour? Somebody who voted in favour, perhaps
you'll tell me why, yes sir, the gentleman here in the front.
UNNAMED MAN: One thing, we are part of the European
Union and I think we should join in the same time, the .......when you go
abroad. On a more basic thing to myself, I've got a young daughter, I'd like to
see her come home from school in daylight.
HUMPHRYS: Alright. Alright. Quick thought from
somebody who voted against. Yes sir.
UNNAMED MAN: Yes, you're talking about your young
daughter coming home from school in daylight. I went to school on a west coast
island....which if you saw the map, if you look at Inverness and come
straight west across the country it's more or less there somewhere. And
there's young kids going to school from......who've got to get a car in the
morning to a ferry, a ferry and then a bus to school. Now they've got to leave
home at seven o'clock in the morning.
HUMPHRYS: And it's going to be pitch dark.
UNNAMED MAN: It's going to be [itch dark.
HUMPHRYS: Alright. Somebody who's undecided. Yes
UNNAMED MAN: I think the gaining of daylight at night
would be quite helpful leisure wise but one of the arguments I've heard is that
business would gain four hours with European business, I'm not convinced by
that, we've coped with it for years, obviously we can carrying on coping with
HUMPHRYS: But you're open to persuasion either
UNNAMED MAN: I think so yes.
HUMPHRYS: What about somebody else who's in favour
of a change in the law. Somebody who's in favour of a change in the law? Yes
UNNAMED MAN: I'm in favour of it. I find older
people...they're treated, it's as though it's a curfew for them. They rush to
get in before it gets dark.
HUMPHRYS: They don't want to be out late in
UNNAMED MAN: I do feel sorry for people, especially
from where you are from, but I think the vast majority would like the extra
hour in the evenings. I would.
HUMPHRYS: And against? Yes sir, the gentleman
UNNAMED MAN: I work for the Post Office and I feel
that we are spending most of our time in the dark at the moment anyway, working
with torchlight and bad street lighting and tenement stairs. I don't feel we
should spend all of our first delivery out in the darkness, I'm totally against
HUMPHRYS: Alright and one more undecided before we
move on. Somebody else who is open to persuasion. Yes the gentleman in the
white shirt there.
UNNAMED MAN: Yeah we were talking about school
children being picked up and dropped off from school. I think the main thrust
of argument there has been...dropped off in the morning, but also you've got
the question of it's going to be dark when they actually leave school, there's
going to be a question about that as well really. So it's a question of how is
it going to effect schoolchildren either way really.
HUMPHRYS: Exactly. Another undecided then. Just
one more to get some sense of why people can't...yes sir, the gentleman here.
UNNAMED MAN: I heard somebody talk about daylight
gain. We have a sunrise and a sunset...between those two is a period of
daylight and no fiddling about with purely arbitrary measurements before or
after would make the slightest bit of difference.
HUMPHRYS: Even the politicians can't give us more
time, more sun side is what you are saying, well that's absolutely true but
there are other issues that they can affect so we'll deal with those a little
HUMPHRYS: Alright, let's get back now to the
arguments in some more detail and see if once we've presented them they can
change any minds in our studio audience. We have a couple of reports for the
pros and the antis and then, the politicians will put their cases, summing up.
First, the argument for what is being so inelegantly called 'Single, Double
Summer time' - that means we'd all be basically on central European time.
VOICE OVER: At this time of the year, schoolchildren
have to walk home in the dark. There are many dangers. Most road accidents
involving children happen after school. Lighter afternoons would cut
accidents. Each year, the clock change could save four hundred and eighty
people from serious injury and a hundred and ten people from death.
JOHN MACNAB: As a schoolteacher, I've always been
concerned about just how vulnerable schoolchildren are. As far as them getting
to school in the morning, it's not such a serious problem as the afternoon.
Most parents bring their children safely to school. It's a different story at
the end of the day when they leave school at four o'clock when they dawdle back
home, take their time and their parents are not there when they get home. I
would much rather children were out playing active games after school and my
colleagues and I would like to organise that, rather than being stuck in the
house. Incidentally, it's a total myth that all Scots are against this change.
Myself and my colleagues are strongly in favour of this change.
VOICE OVER: This enthusiasm is shared by banks and
businesses, who know that, as a nation, we are all losing out being out of sync
with our main trading partners. Deals are lost daily as Continental offices
open and close an hour before ours. And, on top of that, our dark afternoons
are a particular problem for businesses which rely on people being out and
about. In Tourism, for example, estimates suggest the UK is losing out on
business worth one point two billion pounds a year.
PAUL MAINDS: Our business is European road transport
and, therefore, we're right in the middle of the debate on the time
difference. Our customers are involved in exporting to Europe and buying goods
from Europe. We find that this is a real constraint to trade, not just for us
but for our customers, where communication can be effected by the hour's
difference. Typically, calls to suppliers, calls to customers can take time.
And, therefore, we find that our Continental customers don't get the service
that they could expect from a neighbouring country. And, sooner or later, that
affects trade and affects Britain's chances of competing in the Single Market.
VOICE OVER: Much crime is committed under cover of
darkness. The Police believe that dark afternoons encourage some criminals and
make many of us - particularly the elderly - nervous about going out. More
daylight could help, if patterns of offending don't change, it could cut
recorded crime by three per cent. That's two hundred thousand fewer crimes per
year. One contribution to reducing the fear of crime.
LUCY READ: I go home two o'clock and, then, when I
go home I stop indoors till next morning and I'll lock the doors because I'm
frightened of the dark, frightened of opening the doors before the dark.
VOICE OVER: It's over twenty-five years since we
experimented by putting the clocks forward. Since then, the pressure for a
permanent change has grown and grown. Research has convinced groups across the
country that we'll all benefit from extra daylight in the afternoon, when we're
most likely to use it. Apart from the many advantages we've seen, the
improvement to our collective quality of life is, perhaps, the most important.
Indeed, the last nationwide poll found
that seventy-two per cent of people were in favour of making the change. If
you're one of the remaining doubters, lighten up. Just imagine how all our
lives could be improved, with more time for many of us to go out in the
afternoon and fewer opportunities for passing criminals; more time to trade,
enhancing prospects for the UK plc. And, above all, lighter afternoons will
save lives, giving children more time to play in safer streets.
HUMPHRYS: Well, as I said, the Conservative MP
John Butterfill is the sponsor of the Bill. He, now, has two minutes to
summarise his case. Mr Butterfill:
JOHN BUTTERFILL MP: Thanks, John. Well, first of all,
nothing we can do will increase the number of hours of daylight in the day.
What they can do, however, is make them more usable and more worthwhile and
they can extend our leisure time and this is a terribly important factor: that
we will actually make better use of the time that we have. But, the very
important arguments that film has shown you about saving accidents - and, I
know the Opposition will try and rubbish the figures, but the figures have been
produced by our own Department of Transport. They've been checked by the
Herriot-Watt University in Edinburgh; they're supported by the Royal Society
for the Prevention of Accidents, by the AA, the RAC and the Police.
Now, I'd prefer to believe all of those
people about what the effect will be on accidents. Similarly, if we're looking
at crime, there is a very real opportunity to reduce crime. This is supported
by the Association of Chief Police Officers - both in England and Wales and in
Scotland - it's supported by the Police Federation. It's supported by people
like the Suzy Lamphlugh Trust, who are concerned not just about the elderly who
go out after dark but women, young women after dark, people who have to take
wages to the bank, when their business is closed. All these things make a huge
difference to our lives. In addition to that, you've got the extra time for
leisure. Now, the Policy Studies Institute has reckoned that the boost to our
national economy is worth about one point two billion pounds. That's more
jobs, more prosperity, more work for all sorts of people who work in those
industries. And, it means that, for example, if you're going up for golf in
Scotland, you can actually play golf in the afternoon, which you can't do at
And, of course, businesses are going to
benefit enormously from this. We know because the CBI has polled its own
members and eighty per cent of their members support this and all the Scottish
Chambers of Commerce have voted unanimously in favour of it.
HUMPHRYS: Right. And, there, I must stop you, Mr
Butterfill. Thank you very much. That is the case for changing the Law. Now,
the case against.
VOICE OVER: Seven a.m. in the heart of Scotland and
most of Britain is still asleep. Postman Bill Mackintosh is loading his van,
ready for his day's work. Heading out from Pitlochry, his six hour run is a
vital link for this isolated and remote community.
BILL MACKINTOSH: I'm in the office about quarter to
seven, then, I get my mail sorted out; the bags ready to go out. Into the bus
with it. And, of course, when you go outside, the first thing you have to do
is get a torch and make sure you have your torch with you. If it's a frosty,
cold morning it makes life miserable because you're all covered up with clothes
to keep warm... You're just-in general, it's pretty awful (phon).
VOICE OVER: Over one and a half million post,
construction and farmworkers start their work in darkness. For them, changing
time would disrupt their jobs and threaten their safety.
MACKINTOSH: Anyone who thinks of changing an hour
forward like that, I think, they're silly. Doesn't matter if it's a
politician, or who it is. I think it's ludicruous because it makes our life
much more difficult. We have to carry torches and you're shuffling about in a
deep snow and it's dark and you're meeting oncoming traffic. It does slow you
down. And, with me having to keep a time schedule, it makes it very difficult.
VOICE OVER: Eight fifty a.m. and the first signs of
day are breaking through on the road to Kinlochrannag (phon) - twenty miles out
from Pitlochry. The local store is run by Malcolm Wood. He remembers when we
last fooled around with time.
MALCOLM WOOD: I was teaching down in Manchester.
Now, my memories of it are all negative. There was the getting up in what
seemed like the middle of the night, the journey to school in pitch darkness,
children coming into school not in the least receptive to start a day's work.
So, if there was a good side, I certainly can't remember it.
VOICE OVER: The whole of the village passes through
Woods' stores. If there is anyone in Kinlochrannag that wants to change the
clocks, Malcolm's yet to meet them.
WOOD: Everybody that I've spoken to in the
shop so far is really not looking forward to the idea of an extra hour's
darkness in the mornings. The winter mornings here are dark enough for long
enough already. It seems to be the general opinion and most people seem to
think that this is yet another example of politicians in the Southeast imposing
something on communities so much further north which they know very little
VOICE OVER: Getting about is difficult enough
without keeping folk in the dark until ten. Mary Wilson's weekly trip with
Bill to her daughter's remote farm would be impossible.
MARY WILSON: I don't like the darkness, certainly.
It's bad enough, at the moment, but if there was an hour or more to go on it,
it would be terrible. I think, it would be impossible, really, to go out and
get your shopping and get ready and, then, come across the bridge to pick up
Bill at ten to nine. It's dark enough some mornings, at the moment, with the
wet weather. So, I mean, another hour it would be quite dark - not nice at
all. In fact, I think, I don't think I would do it.
VOICE OVER: Her daughter, Ann Robertson, finds the
thought of losing her mother's visits upsetting. Even so, Ann worries about
the effects on the farm, more than the impact upon her.
Ten a.m. at ... Farm. If the 'time
bandits' have their way, Ann's husband, Bobby, will be fleeing his four hundred
sheep in the dark. He knows only too well the problems that would bring. It
could also cost him money.
BOBBIE ROBERTSON: We start lambing early here and
there's little enough daylight as it is. Another hour's darkness in the
morning is certainly not going to help us. If we can't see what we're doing,
we're going to lose lambs, probably lose ewes as well and that's going to cost
money which is our livelihoods.
VOICE OVER: And, that's what we're talking about -
the lives of people like Bobby Robertson and Bill Mackintosh. They're the
people who keep Britain going in the early hours, when the rest of us are still
ROBERTSON: The politicians are thinking of
changing it. They should think again and come and see for themselves how
difficult they make our life to be up here in the long dark.
VOICE OVER: Those who want change are trying to
get away with daylight robbery. Their arguments are weak and their facts
unproven. Changing time would make a difference but it's a difference
Pitlochry could do without. As far as people here are concerned, it's been
tried before and it didn't work. Surely, we don't want to make the same
HUMPHRYS: Well let's hear now from Nigel Evans,
another Conservative MP summing up the case against change.
NIGEL EVANS MP: Thank you John. Our film has starkly
illustrated the severe human problems that they face north of the border but
I'm a Welshman, representing a Lancashire constituency and I can tell you it is
a UK problem. What CET will do, it will steal an hour of vital daylight from
the morning and place it at the other end of the day and that will be the case
whether you live in Glasgow, Belfast or London. It's not extra daylight, it's
certainly not extra sunlight, not even parliament can give you that. The fact
is that the important problem with CET has got to be the safety, particularly
the safety of our children. Now those of you who can remember back to the last
time we tried this time swap experiment will remember the dayglow armbands, the
florescent jackets that all our youngsters had to wear, going out to school in
the dark in all sorts of weather conditions. Accidents in the morning went up
and that's why there was an outcry. At the moment, the vast majority of our
youngsters go to school in daylight and they come home in daylight. If CET
have their way, then our youngsters will go to school in the dark and come home
Now those who argue that CET brought
about a net reduction in the amount of accidents really don't take into account
all the other road safety measures that were introduced at the same time as the
CET experiment in the last 60s/1970. We had the breathalyzer, the seventy mile
per hour speed limits introduced on the motorways, there were another...a
number of other measures that were introduced which have given us some of the
best road accident safety records in the whole of Europe and that includes
those countries who've got more natural daylight than we've currently got. But
it's not just accidents to our youngsters going to school or on paper rounds.
There are Post Office workers we've heard of, the bakery delivery people,
farmers, all sorts of other people and we know that when the trial was started
in 1968, the number of accidents went up. Therefore we've got to ensure that
we've tried this experiment before, we mustn't try it again.
HUMPHRYS: That's your two minutes up. Thank you
very much Nigel Evans.
Well now the MPs get a chance to shout
at each other, they're well used to doing that so they shouldn't have any
difficulty. This is our cross-fire section. Malcolm Bruce and Nigel Evans you
have five minutes to test your opponents arguments.
MALCOLM BRUCE MP: John Butterfill, can you tell us why you
think we have time zones in the first place.
JOHN BUTTERFILL MP: We have them to make better use of the
time that we have and make better use of daylight which is precisely why we're
proposing to change it now and we believe that we will make better use, in fact
we know we will - all the statistics show that we spend at the moment too much
of the available daylight, not in the depths of winter but in the spring and
the autumn we have times when we are actually wasting daylight in the mornings
which we can't use then in the afternoons. So there's much more time...usable
daylight available under this proposal.
BRUCE: That is an explanation of your case
about why you want to change the clock but not why, for example, this country
is based on Greenwich Mean Time. Do you accept that the Greenwich Nought
Meridian goes through Greenwich which is just beside London?
BUTTERFILL: Well of course it does, yes.
BRUCE: Do you accept that the majority of the
British Isles is to the west of that Meridian?
BUTTERFILL: Quite a lot of it is yes.
BRUCE: But do you believe in geography?
BUTTERFILL: I do believe in geography yes.
BRUCE: Do you not then accept that what you are
proposing is to put Britain into a time zone which no quarter of the British
Isles belongs in. A time zone whose main meridian runs through Prague and
Stockholm, rather than the natural time zone we live in which runs through
London. And do you not accept that this isn't just a Scottish case, what
people in Scotland are for, are asking for is for Scotland and the United
Kingdom to stay - not on Scottish time but on London time: don't you accept
BUTTERFILL: No I don't accept that at all because we
have a situation where the time zone that we started with the Greenwich
Meridian was related to our agrarian economy as it was a very long time ago.
We now live in the modern world, with much more capability of adapting and we
live in a world that is entirely different from the one that was established
when we set up the time.
BRUCE: So you think our position on the globe
has actually moved physically.
BUTTERFILL: No I don't but I think you are living in
a time warp...(laughter)...
BRUCE: I'm living on a round world not a flat
EVANS: John you have to accept that over the
past twenty-five years we've seen a dramatic decrease in the amount of
accidents on our roads. That's got nothing to do with switching daylight.
BUTTERFILL: No nothing at all and in effect that is
all taken into account in the Department of Transport's own figures. When they
anaylse the experiment between '67 and '71 they looked at the situation then
and they then adjusted all those figures to take into account quite right, of
the improvements in roads, the improvements in vehicles, legislation on the
breathalyser, the legislation on seatbelts. All of which have reduced accidents
but that's all been taken into account in the Department's own figures and yet
they still believe we would reduce two thousand injuries a year and have a
hundred and ten fewer deaths even after taking all that into account. You're
shaking your head but RoSPA agree with them, the police agree with them, the AA
agree with them, the RAC agree with them.
EVANS: The fact is that there are...the
greatest number of accidents that occur to youngsters particularly occur in the
summer when there's more daylight around.
BUTTERFILL: Of course they do because that's when
they're playing after school.
EVANS: You're going to give them an extra hour
of daylight to play after school (applause)
BUTTERFILL: If you take all accidents involving
children, only eighteen per cent occur on the journey to and from school. The
other eighty-two per cent occur after school and of course they are much more
vulnerable when it's dark and if you don't believe that then ask parents in the
audience here whether they like the idea of their children playing after dark,
after school, of course they don't and that's when they're most at risk.
EVANS: You ask those parents who in the 1970s
remember sending their children out wearing dayglow armbands and florescent
jackets. They hated the idea, there was an outcry in the 1970s, why do you
think the House of Commons rejected by three hundred and sixty-six votes to
eight-one in 1970, against ending the British Standard time experiment.
BUTTERFILL: Because there was a terrible accident in
Stornoway in the mornings when several children were killed. It was picked up
by some of the tabloids who waged a national campaign based on anecdotal
evidence and they totally overlooked the fact that the total number of
accidents was dramatically reduced. You know that can happen when the tabloids
run a campaign, that's why it was rejected and they overlooked the real
BRUCE: George, what about the effect of double
summer time. You know in Scotland we have relatively light evenings. How do
you feel, how do you think the people of Glasgow are going to feel about sunset
coming at ten past eleven and how do you think you are going to get the
children in, out of risk of traffic accidents when the sun is still shining
well after eleven o'clock.
GEORGE FOULKES MP: I think they are going to be absolutely
delighted to have an hour's extra daylight in the evening. Extra for leisure,
extra for tourism. Mine is a tourist constituency like yours. This will allow
more people to come in spring and summer, much greater use of the facilities in
my constituency. At the moment there are hours of daylight in spring and
autumn, before you get up which you don't make use of and you're awake while
it's still dark. An extra hour of daylight which can be made use of. And all
your arguments have been about Scotland....
BRUCE: No they haven't...
FOULKES: No they have.
BRUCE: Sorry George....
FOULKES: And about winter and about winter, we're
not just talking about Scotland in winter, we're talking about the whole UK and
the whole year round.
BRUCE: My opening question I pointed out was
about Greenwich Mean Time. Greenwich is in London, not Scotland.
FOULKES: But time zones....
BRUCE: George, can you answer a question.
FOULKES: Time zones are based on...
BRUCE: Will you answer a question - double
summer time has not been experimented with since the war, are you saying that
you know that it will not cause more accidents?
HUMPHRYS: Brief answer to that George.
FOULKES: Well RoSPA wouldn't support this. Their
whole purpose in life is to stop, to reduce accidents. They wouldn't support
it, if they didn't believe it wouldn't have that kind of effect.
HUMPHRYS: Right, thank you very much, that's the
end of your cross-examination. Let me now unleash the audience, who clearly
have some fairly strong views of their own, judging by the response to some of
those points. Many of you applauded then when the question of accidents to
children was raised, the greater danger to accidents of children. Can I have
some points about that please from those of you. Yes, Sir, gentleman on the
UNNAMED MAN: I live on a busy road. I have a school
for rising five to elevens down one end; in the middle a similar school, on the
other end a comprehensive. From my desk in my front garden I can see the way
children behave. Going home in the evening no problem, they're quite
lethargic, they muck about a bit. But, when they go to school in the morning
with a Mars Bar or a packet of chips in one hand, and they're late, they do
silly things in daylight. Give them that in the dark and there's a recipe for
HUMPHRYS: Alright, somebody else with a point on
that. Yes, sir, the gentleman with a beard in the second row here.
UNNAMED MAN: I remember very clearly the experiment
to which has been referred to in the late Sixties. I lived then, I live now in
the south of England in Surrey. The Scots can certainly look after their own
corner extremely well. I'll speak for the south of England. I had children
going to school who had to go to school in the dark as opposed to going to
school in the light. I was driving fifteen miles to work in the dark, leaving
home at eight o'clock, and believe you me, you are not alert in the morning
when you fall into your car. And, the experiment was stopped because there was
an increase in road accidents despite what the great and the good are now
HUMPHRYS: Does anybody else remember that
experiment and want to comment on that? Who's against changing? Oh yeah, the
gentleman in the white shirt.
UNNAMED MAN: Yes, I felt during the time that we had
that experiment I got the feeling that there was a form of depression among
people. They were saddened by the grey skies for so long. The winter time
appeared to be longer than normal. It affected their work.
HUMPHRYS: Yes, George - Mr Foulkes, Mr Butterfill.
FOULKES: I think it's completely wrong to say
that people are less alert in the morning. By definition they're wider awake
in the morning.
HUMPHRYS: Some perhaps.
FOULKES: Well I am - I was up very early this
morning to get here - I was wider awake, I think drivers are wider awake.
Children dawdle home to school. Drivers are tired by four o'clock in the
afternoon. That's when accidents are likely to happen much more.
HUMPHRYS: Go on - you wanted to come back on that.
UNNAMED MAN: I assure you that the facts are as I
stated and the research at the time showed that drivers were less alert
in the morning and there were children on the road and it was quite a terrific
HUMPHRYS: Alright, lady in the front here, a
quick thought on that.
UNNAMED WOMAN: I find that the smaller children are
taken to school and picked up, but in the evenings it's the say - eleven,
twelve year olds that are too embarrassed for their parents to pick them up,
so they dawdle home on their own, quite a lot where I live, and it's very very
dangerous and very vulnerable for them.
HUMPHRYS: Alright, what about the changes to
your lifestyle, things like you know, sport activities and all that. Anybody
with some thoughts on that, who's against changing. The lady in the second row
UNNAMED MAN: No, I'm for changing.
HUMPHRYS: Oh, you're for changing, I want people
who are against change at the moment, and I've come to you sir. What about the
gentleman in the front row here with the waistcoat?
UNNAMED MAN: You made a comment about playing golf
in Scotland in the winter. If you've found a course in Scotland where you can
play golf after three o'clock I'd very much like to know where that is.
HUMPHRYS: He's an MP of course he has.
BUTTERFILL: Well of course there's Turnbury
but of course the whole point of the proposal is that you will be able
to - at the moment you can't. I mean I was up in Scotland over the New Year,
and I went up actually to try and ski in Glenshea (phon.). Now they have to
come off the slopes of Glenshea at three-thirty at this time of year. They'd
be able to stay as they can in the rest of Europe, on the slopes till
four-thirty, and the same applies to golfing. You're quite right. At the
moment, with the time that we've got at the moment you can't play a round of
golf in the afternoon, but you can afterwards. That's why the people who run
Gleneagles are so keen on this change because it will boost their economy.
HUMPHRYS: Do we have any farmers in the audience
who are against change. You're a farmer are you - yes sir?
UNNAMED FARMER: We are a fairly large farm of arable
farmers and plant hire contractors.
HUMPHRYS: Where are you based?
HUMPHYRS: Right, should have guessed shouldn't
FARMER: At the moment we start work at eight
o'clock in the morning, and we finish at five, so that means all our operations
are carried out in daylight. You're talking about the children's safety - what
about my staff's safety? In large farms now-a-days and also in plant hire we
use very dangerous machinery, and one of the banes of our life are the health
and safety. If this comes in I think we shall have a lot more problems.
HUMPHRYS: Right, any other farmers who might
have a thought on that? Yes, the lady in the second row with the check ..
UNNAMED WOMAN: Yes, from Scotland. Livestock
farmers will be a quarter of the way through their working day at ten o'clock
in the morning before they are able to get on the land to tend stock. I think
it's utterly ridiculous. It's something imposed by the south of England which
we neither want nor need.
HUMPHRYS: Well, gentlemen.
FOULKES: I represent a farming constituency, a
very large farming constituency, and to be honest it's been my experience that
their operations are quite irrelevant to what's happening, what the time is
for everyone else. I've never seen a cow with an alarm clock for example. I
very seldom see a farmer with a wrist watch because they can get on with things
on the land irrespective of what the time is for the rest of us, and I think
the arguments as far as farming is concerned are quite irrelevant. They go by
sunrise and sunset, spring, summer, autumn and winter.
HUMPHRYS: What about the European dimension
that somebody raised, that one of the films raised earlier, because there is
this factor that we're out of line with Europe at the moment. Who is against
changing the time and concerned about getting in line with Europe as it
were. Anybody worried about that. Yes, gentleman in the front?
UNNAMED MAN: I'm certainly against changing the
time just merely for the fact of getting in time with Europe, because surely
despite what the statistics said, we still deal with America and Japan and the
Pacific basin particularly coming up, which are way out of our time zone, and
with all these electronic systems you've got now-a-days there shouldn't be any
reason whatsoever to actually change just to get in line with Europe.
HUMPHRYS: Quick thought on that gentlemen, and
then we're going to move on.
BUTTERFILL: Well at the moment we have a very
severe problem. They start work an hour before us, they go to lunch an hour
before us, then we go to lunch, and then they pack up an hour before us.
That's four hours in the working day when they can't actually be doing
business with each other properly.
HUMPHRYS: Right, there we stop it because you've
had your correct time for the cross-examination we move to the other side now,
and we give John Butterfill and George Foulkes the opportunity to cross examine
the other two who want to leave things as they are. Gentlemen.
FOULKES: Malcolm, your case is concentrated on
Scotland, it's concentrated on winter, and it's concentrated on people's fears
and people's worries. Do you not agree that in spring, in summer and in autumn
we have a lot of hours of sunlight, of daylight before we get up and a lot of
hours of darkness while we're still awake in the evening, and wouldn't it
provide more time for leisure, for sport, if we made this switch?
BRUCE: I don't think that's a valid argument
at all. I think the first point you have to look at is that the British Isles
slope north-east to south-west, and the consequence of that is the further west
you are, the further north you are the difference in the day. The second
point you have to take on board is that we have a very long day in the summer -
we have summer time to deal with that. Double summer time means children will
be out after eleven o'clock exposed to accident and risk, and can I just
repeat the point about school times. Most of the accidents incidentally don't
happen on the way to or from school, but in London and Aberdeen children go to
school in the dark, and you will extend that period. All children up to
Aberdeen included, go home in the daylight.
FOULKES: I think we've had a lot of arguments
about accidents Malcolm. What I'm talking about is leisure. Have you never
been woken up at three or four o'clock in the morning by the birds singing as
daylight comes in, thinking, wouldn't it be great to have that hour extra
early at night to get on with sport, to get on with tennis, to get on with the
kind of activities that John was talking about earlier on. Do you know that
there's been a calculation that the boost to tourism will be one point
two-billion pounds. That's what the tourist board have said. Do you not
think that's a valuable addition?
BRUCE: Well, ask the people who organise open
air concerts, firework displays, the son et lumieres how you're going to set
off the fireworks and light up the lights when the sun's still shining in the
sky...(applause) And they're based in the south of England by the way.
FOULKES: Do you think there are more people who
are concerned with, who are worried about son et lumiere and fireworks
displays than there are about golf, about football, about rugby, about all of
these other spectator activities.
BRUCE: We have more daylight in this country
in the summer than people do in Spain and France and Italy. We're already
better off, we don't need to make it more exaggerated than it is.
EVANS: But George I think more people are
probably worried about the accidents to people who are farmers or to postmen
and youngsters going to school in the morning than they are about getting an
extra hour or golf in in Scotland if you have your way.
BUTTERFILL: Nigel, what would you say then to the
elderly people who feel trapped in their homes. What would you say to age
concern who very much worry about the elderly, who don't feel they can go out
most of the time during the winter. Don't you think they deserve a better break
than they get at the moment.
EVANS: Well, tell Age Concern, please would
you mind responding to one of my constituents who I spoke to yesterday who is
an elderly lady, who has written to them and said "We don't want Central
European Time. As you know John there are a lot of people, there are a lot of
robberies, I think it's two-thirds that take place during daylight than take
place in the evenings, do you not think that criminals have got initiative
enough, that if you alter your times by an hour, that they will also alter
their practices as well?
BUTTERFILL: Well, don't you listen to the
evidence that's given to you by those who really know about this, that's the
police, the Police Federation, the National Association of Chief Police
Officers, and the Home Office themselves who are quite convinced that we would
save about two-hundred thousand crimes a year, and how would you respond also
to the BMA who say we would be a healthier nation.
BRUCE: John, these claims have not been
substantiated, indeed your film said the police believe. Well they're entitled
to their beliefs, but I think that is not a good evidence for making such a
FOULKES: There are statistics that show quite
clearly that crimes take place under cover of darkness in the evening, not at
dawn. Criminals don't go around at dawn.
EVANS: But George, some of the crimes that
you're talking about which are assaults against other people take place just
after the pubs have closed at eleven o'clock. This isn't going to matter
whether it's daylight or not.
FOULKES: Well, there aren't many older people
coming out of the pubs at eleven o'clock.
EVANS: No, I'm not talking about older
people, I'm just talking about assaults to young people.
FOULKES: It is a matter of particular
concern for the elderly. You mentioned one person. Age Concern
as a whole are desperately worried about. Old people are not going out to
lunch clubs, they're not going out to afternoon sessions to meet people, to
meet other elderly people because they're worried about going home in the
dark. That will allow them to go out and enjoy themselves and meet other old
EVANS: George, I accept that there is a fear
of crime. We heard in your report, the lady in London going back to her house
at two o'clock in the afternoon, when it's broad daylight then. I think that
there is an unreasonable fear of crime as compared to the actuality of crime
and I think that's a job for government to get that message across to people.
FOULKES: Can I ask Malcolm the one I raised
earlier on about farmers. Does he not agree that as far as famers are
concerned their operations are completely divorced from the time the rest of us
are concerned about. The time of day is irrelevant to them.
BRUCE: Farmers funnily enough have children
and they have to get up to organise their day around ..
FOULKES: We're talking about farming.
BRUCE: I know, but they have to organise both
of those things, and they're up in any case. The second point is if that
argument applies to farmers it equally applies to business poeple who can
organise their time of day to suit the European clock, and incidentally by
getting ourselves closer to Europe we get ourselves further away from America.
That doesn't help the City of London's dealings with Wall Street.
HUMPHRYS: Right, gentlemen thank you. And
members of the audience, you can have a crack now. Can I just perhaps first
get you to comment because we heard other people who were in the middle of
the experiment the first time we fiddled about with the clocks and who didn't
like it. Anybody here who did like that, who remembers that experiment and did
UNNAMED WOMAN: I, I quite enjoyed coming home in the
evenings and you had longer sometimes. And, what I wanted to say is that the
British are slow to change, like with a lot of other things. So, we adapt very
slowly to change and other things. When they mention about children coming
home, accidents happening in the morning, the children. I was quite young then
and I enjoyed the longer hour of evening, you know of daylight in the evenings.
Also, the feelgood factor, you forget to mention that. About people. We have
leisure activities to do, to take part in and we feel better.
HUMPHRYS: You can answer that, in a moment. Let
me just see if anyone else shares that view.
UNNAMED MAN: Well, there are a vast number of people
whom we haven't talked about here and there are people involved in
manufacturing in this country, who generally start their days early in the
morning anyway. And, when I was involved in manufacturing - not actually on
the shopfloor - at least, when we had the changes, people had the opportunity
to get home and see some daylight. Most people involved in manufacturing in
the heartland and the Midlands and the northeast don't see any daylight atg all
in the winter, at that moment.
HUMPHRYS: Anybody else with that? In that general
area? Lady right at the very back there - yeah?
UNNAMED WOMAN: Yes, my husband's a butcher and market
days he's away by half past four and it's seven o'clock in the evening when he
gets home. By the same token, I think, young children - yes, they'd enjoy the
extra hour, until eleven o'clock at night - but what about the mother and
getting up for school the next day.
UNNAMED MAN: The one thing that we've really not
talked about. You've talked about the winter and how wonderful it's going to
be to get this extra hour so everybody will be on the golf courses and playing
tennis and goodness knows what. But, what about the weather? We have severe
dangerous weather in the winter and, of course, it's very icy and cold in the
mornings, as well. Now, you've got one and a half million construction workers
in this country who'll be out in the cold, in frosty conditions - never mind
the schoolchildren we've talked about. It's extremely dangerous for them and
the last time we tried this experiment, we saw that the number of accidents
involved on construction sites went up. So, we talk about road accidents -
yes that's one thing - but what about accidents at work as well. It's
extremely dangerous for them.
HUMPHRYS: Gentleman, at the back there.
UNNAMED MAN: Further to that point, there. I think,
the building industry, especially in Scotland, they'll have to change their
starting time. Here, we start at eight o'clock in the morning and it's dark.
We don't really get started at work until half past eight, nine o'clock - even.
You know, if it's pitch dark at nine o'clock we're not going to get started
until ten o'clock. Employers are going to start changing times of starting
work in the mornings, you know.
UNNAMED MAN: But, the industry themselves see
they've got problems with that because of the lorries coming onto the roads,
therefore, at exactly the same time as the children are going to school. So,
there's a dangerous problem there.
HUMPHRYS: Gentleman, towards the back there, with
his hand up - yes, sir!
UNNAMED MAN: Can I raise a minority point? I'm a
member of the Jewish religion. There are, I think, Jews and Muslims in this
country very grateful for the fact that laws in this country allow us to
practice our religion. There would be some real practical difficulties for
members of the Jewish faith, anybody who's observant, to be able to fulfill the
requirements of their faith.
HUMPHRYS: Which is what?
UNNAMED MAN: I can give you two or three very quick
examples. The Day of Atonement is one of our many fast days. We don't fast
from dusk to dusk. That means we start in the evening and we have to
finish the following evening. And, if the Day of Atonement was extended by an
extra hour - to eight or nine o'clock in the evening, it would make it very
difficult. The Sabbath, for example, it would go out in Scotland midnight or
one o'clock in the morning. And, the most hard problem which we would face is
for those people who would want to pray in the morning. They would need a
quorum of ten people. At the moment, we can get a quorum at eight o'clock
in the morning. If that quorum was made to nine o'clock in the morning, it
would be impossible for people who go to work or school to find a quorum.
I know, it's a minority point but it is
a serious point.
BUTTERFILL: I have discussed this with the Board of
Deputies and I would like to come in on it.
HUMPHRYS: You're not allowed to come in at this
stage because it's Nigel Evans and Malcolm Bruce's turn.
BRUCE MP: Well, I do actually think that we need
to be sensitive to minorities and can I repudiate the suggestion that Scotland
is somehow the only part of this country that's concerned about it. I've
already pointed out that sunrise in London, under John Butterfill's proposals,
would be after nine o'clock. And, nobody has mentioned the problem of Ireland
which because it's north and west. Do you really want to divide the country of
Ireland not only on religion and politics but also on time? Because Northern
Ireland would be in one time zone and the Republic would be in another. Or,
are we voting for the people of the Republic of Ireland without even giving
them a chance to participate?
HUMPHRYS: No, no, no. You're not allowed to come
in, yet. And, restrain yourselves. You'll have another chance in a minute and
I want - remember - let's arguments for change against these two who are
against it. So, who wants change? And, perhaps, on this crime factor that's
been raised a number of times. Anyone here feel that it would help the fight
against crime if we were to change the hours? Yes, lady towards the right - a
UNNAMED WOMAN: I think - I mean, everybody's been
speaking about children and accidents and things. But, I think, if we did
change the time a lot of women would feel safer of an evening as well.
HUMPHRYS: Would you - yourself?
UNNAMED WOMAN: Yes, I would. I spend a lot of time of
an evening on my own out in the car and I know I would feel a lot safer with
that extra hour of daylight.
HUMPHRYS: What about the difference in the
UNNAMED WOMAN: I'm talking about later in the
evening. I mean in the mornings there's so much hustle and bustle.
HUMPHRYS: You don't feel so threatened in the
mornings - it's the evenings that you feel threatened? Well, that's an
important point, isn't it?
EVANS: Yeah, but a lot of people who go from
work back home, even from their work even with John's bill will find that it's
already getting dark at about half past five anyway, in London. So, they're
not going to really going to get any of the benefits of it. I think, there
are a lot of crimes that take place in the day already. As I talk about
robberies, two-thirds of them take place at day. Criminals are extremely
entrepreneurial people and they will just adjust their time clocks to whatever
HUMPHRYS: Talking about entrepreneurs, are there
any business people in the audience who feel they would be helped by changing
UNNAMED MAN: Well, I actually work in the sports
industry and if you take say, football matches, where you have a major - a
large - amount of people congregating. Now, matches on a Saturday start at
three o'clock. For most of the winter, it's dark. The game- One is the cost to
the clubs - floodlighting. People going home in the dark.
HUMPHRYS: And, there's a lady, I think, towards
the back - Tourism - who's got a point to make about that. No, there isn't.
EVANS: I thought, John, that if you're talking
about professional football it was more dictated by Murdoch these days, rather
than when the sun came up or went down!
HUMPHRYS: Anybody else got a quick point, in
favour of change. We heard from you a moment ago, Sir. Anybody else? Yes,
gentleman there, with the - tie? Yeah.
UNNAMED MAN: On balance, I'm in favour of
change but what I would have liked to have heard from someone is the effects
on the people who have had to make major adjustments within the European time
area. For example, if it's dark at five o'clock at Calais, it's been dark in
Poland at half past three and, again, Norway and Sweden is north of Edinburgh,
with its large industry and agriculture. Oslo, half a million people - how do
they get over these problems?
HUMPHRYS: Five seconds to deal with that,
BRUCE: Well, if you're talking about Oslo, of
course, Oslo is in the Central European time zone and this is the fundamental
point of geography. A time zone is approximately an hour. We're trying to
stretch this time zone to cover three hours. The wider the time zone, the more
the disparity, the greater the discomfort you're causing.
HUMPHRYS: Right. Thank you very much. Now, let
us hear the final arguments from the MPs - the summation for and against
changing our clocks. But, before we do that, we've prepared a rather graphic
illustration of how life would change in Britain. First, let's look at how it
is at the moment.
Dawn at the bottom of the country, in
Plymouth. The sun has risen at quarter to eight. At the top of the country,
in Inverness, it doesn't really get light until half past eight. So, let's
speed through the day, now.
By quarter past two, it's already
getting dark in Inverness. It's an hour later before Plymouth loses its
light. And, now, just one minute for Malcolm Bruce to tell us why he thinks
things should stay like that. Mr Bruce:
BRUCE: Thank you, John. Well, I think, the
first thing we should not do is fly in the face of geography. The British Isles
is not in the European Central time zone. It would be wrong to force us where
we don't belong. We should leave the people who are in that time zone
properly where they belong. Secondly, the argument about accidents is simply
not proven. First of all, the figures are inconclusive; secondly, a whole
range of possible effects have not even been examined - such as industrial
accidents, the effect on postal workers and, indeed, the effects on people's
general state of health, the effect of seasonally affected syndrome, the effect
of people who suffer from depression from dark mornings. These factors have
not been taken into account and we're being asked to make a fundamental change,
against geography, on the basis of information which, simply, doesn't add up.
The business argument doesn't add
up either because people can adjust and we are in Europe and can still do
business with Europe. We would, of course, stop ourselves from overlapping
effectively with America, which is a major trading partner, which would
disadvantage us, and these arguments apply just as forcefully in London, as
they do in the north of Scotland - they're just more exaggerated the further
north and west you go.
HUMPHRYS: Thank you very much indeed,
Malcolm Bruce. Well, now, George Foulkes wants to change things. Let's
see the effect his proposals would have:
Once again quarter to eight in Plymouth
but it's dark now. It stays dark for another hour. The sun doesn't rise until
quarter to nine. Of course, in Inverness it isn't getting light until half
past nine. So, let's speed through the day again. Inverness now has daylight
until half past three instead of half past two. And, down in Plymouth, of
course, they don't need to switch the lights on until quarter past four.
And now one minute for George Foulkes to
summarise his case for that change.
FOULKES: Thank you John. As the audience saw,
I'm keen to argue for change! You heard a lot of emotional argument from the
other side. Talk of time bandits, of daylight robbery. No one can take an
hour of daylight away from you but no one can give you an extra hour of
daylight either. What we're saying is that the daylight we have, whether it's
in winter or in summer should be used more effectively. More effectively for
sport, for leisure, for Tourism. We're also saying that RoSPA - who have no
reason to lie about accidents - say that there would be less accidents if we
made change. Age Concern who have no reason to lie about the care of the
elderly say the elderly would be more comfortable if they have change. That's
why we're arguing the case. All the people who are concerned about accidents,
concerned about the elderly, concerned about Tourism, concerned about industry
in Britain want the change. That's why we urge you make that change now.
HUMPHRYS: George Foulkes, thank you very much.
So, there we are. We've heard all the arguments - at least, I think, we've
heard all the arguments. And, now let's see what effect, if any, they have had
on our audience here in the studio. Let me just repeat what I said a little
earlier: this is not a representative cross-section of the British public
anyway. There is a disproportionate number of Scots here, for a start. So,
Scots and all, let's have another vote. Are you, at this stage, having heard
the arguments, are you in favour of changing our clocks, are you in favour of
leaving it as it is, or are you still undecided? Will you please vote now.
This is the moment of truth and we
remember how people voted earlier. Well, there we are. Most of those who were
undecided have now made up their minds and the preponderance of them have voted
against change. So, the Yes votes who were just ahead by one vote at the
beginning of this discussion have lost it to the No votes.
Well let me ask somebody who changed his
or her mind. It was really on a knife edge earlier but now we've got four per
cent in favour. Still, it's very close but nonetheless, those of you who voted
for against; those of you who have changed their minds during the course of
this debate can you put up your hands and one of you perhaps tell us why.
Who changed his/her mind? Yes, sir, you changed your mind. Why?
UNNAMED MAN: Yes, I was more convinced by the
accidents in the morning argument and I feel that there will be more accidents
at that time in the darkness.
HUMPHRYS: Yep, anybody else with a similar
thought to that or indeed another reason for? Yes, madam. A lady, here.
UNNAMED WOMAN: The crime.
HUMPHRYS: The crime.
UNNAMED WOMAN: We've been told really by our police
that most of the crime to houses is in the middle of the afternoon.
HUMPHRYS: Yeah. There was a lady here, as well.
You changed your mind.
UNNAMED WOMAN: A lot of emphasis has been put on sport
but I think that's probably a minor part of it. I feel that industry and
business etc., we haven't really suffered because of one hour and I don't think
we will in the future and I think that it seems to me another step in losing
our identity as being British as well, to Europe.
HUMPHRYS: Yes, lady here in the front. Did you
change your mind, first of all?
UNNAMED WOMAN: No I haven't.
HUMPHRYS: You haven't changed your mind.
UNNAMED WOMAN: I was surprised that they're changing
their mind on the accidents when he's got the figures there. So, I can't
HUMPHRYS: Yeah. OK. Right, anybody else who has
changed thir mind? Perhaps any Scots who've changed their mind - may have felt
one way at the beginning? Yes, gentleman there.
UNNAMED MAN: The point about the sport. Football and
rugby are primarily played in the afternoon and they change their kick-off
times from three to two-thirty to two to compensate for the light. Golf and
tennis are primarily summer sports when there is more light anyway.
HUMPHRYS: Quick chance for just another one or two
very very quick comments, one or two people who - you didn't change your mind
did you, or did you?
UNNAMED MAN: No, I didn't change my mind but I just
want to make one comment. I hope the MPs before they vote look very carefully
at the statistical evidence, especially the Home Office Paper that came out in
'89, which did say that crime and children would be affected.
HUMPHRYS: Right. Change your mind - anybody
change their mind? One more change your mind and then we're going to have to
call it a day. One more final thought then from that gentleman there. Very
quick we've only got about three seconds.
UNNAMED MAN: No one's really addressed the-for
industry with the lighter afternoons, with the issue of energy. You say...
HUMPHRYS: Alright, an energy saving point but
there we have to end it, I'm afraid, because time has caught up with us. My
thanks to the audience and our MPs. That's it for this week. On The Record
will be back in its usual form and at the usual time next Sunday. Twelve-thirty
throughout the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. Good afternoon.