Saturday, 30 October 2010

Clocks and organised irreligion

Just for once, I have to agree with the 'experts.'
Here's a report on the benefits of not putting the clocks back at the end of October.
Ours is not a particularly pleasant climate in winter, wet, windy and cold for much of the time, so why must we make it seem even darker than it has to be? I know the opposing arguments from those in Scotland and the North about road safety and children getting to school in the dark mornings, but I wonder how far they are based on likely reality rather than sheer inertia - Sweden, Norway, Russia, how do they manage?
But I remember this debate and these kind of recommendations from as long ago as my childhood. Nothing, of course, will change and we'll just have to grit our teeth and face the (in part, unnecessary) darkness of the British winter afternoons or, failing that, move to France.
Roll on the end of March! Perhaps I'm just not a winter person.

I was surprised to find in my (free) copy of the Michaelmas edition of Oxford Today, [inside there is an an interesting piece on Geoffrey Hill & a photo of Newman's rooms at Oriel] along with appeals from good causes and all the advertising junk about hearing aids and Greek villa holidays, a membership leaflet from the British Humanist Association, complete with the usual mug shots of Dawkins, Fry, Pullman, Grayling and the late Claire Rayner.
"There's probably no God, but there's more to life than that." So please send us your money...

Obviously in a free society any religious or quasi-religious body has a right to proselytise as best it can, although I have to say "organised irreligion" is not really my cup of tea; my scepticism takes other forms.
So, am I to look forward to the inclusion in future editions of this kind of stuff from every interest group under the sun, religious or non-religious, which has the financial clout and influence to have its mail-shots included: next month, The Watchtower, perhaps?
But who in the publications department of my old university believed this was a good idea? Perhaps they think universal godlessness is an objective worthy of promotion by an ancient university whose motto reads, Dominus illuminatio mea.

Happy All Saintstide!


  1. Even in France you have the same business of winter and summer time, but an hour later. At least the dates of changing from one to the other seem to be the same as the UK now. It used to be confusing beforehand.

    With regard to the University, are degrees still granted with the formula, 'Ad honorem Domini nostri Jesu Christi, et ad profectum sacrosanctae matris Ecclesiae et studii?' It would be amusing to think this had happened in Dr Dawkins' case

  2. True, but that hour makes all the difference.
    As for Dr Dawkins, one can only hope so.

  3. Always strikes me as a tad ridiculous that people say "Keep summer time; it gives us an extra hour of daylight." Purest rubbish. The sun is at its height at Noon GMT (or a little after as you travel into Wales)... if people want more usable light, they simply have to get up earlier. It is daft to have to rely on Government Fiat to get us out of bed. No changing of clocks makes a bit of difference to daylight hours.
    And as for the French - and even worse the Spanish! Madrid is so far West of Greenwich that their clocks should be an hour later, not earlier, than ours. How wise our oldest allies, the Portuguese; at least they keep in step with us.
    As for Australia!! They even have half-hour time-zone changes. Must confuse the Kangaroos and Platypuses terribly.

  4. Of course, Father, you're right. It's only my own irrational dislike of the winter months which makes it seem so awful that it gets dark at 5 p.m.. There are always log fires and a glass of red wine - French, Spanish, even Portuguese - I have to say I don't really mind!


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