Friends don't let friends stay in something as stupid as the EU - Credit, public domain

We’ve mentioned here before the European Union’s idea of abolishing changing the clocks for winter and summer time. Our major point about that being that the people who try to run the continent have just agreed that they’ve been wrong this past few decades. They’ve been forcing everyone to change those clocks twice a year for no good reason. Even, in fact, to our general disbenefit. So, what else have they been wrong about all these years?

But now we’ve a variation of the story. Northern Ireland might end up with a different time regime than the Republic – how ridiculous! Or, perhaps, with a different one from the UK of which it is part. Ridiculous again! Yes, except it obviously won’t happen:

TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGING EU vows to scrap daylight saving to drive a wedge between UK and Ireland post Brexit

No, really, just no:

The European Commission is proposing to end the practice of putting the clocks forward in spring and back in the winter.

But under the current EU ‘backstop’ plans to keep Northern Ireland in the EU single market after Brexit, that could mean Belfast being stuck in a different time zone from the rest of the UK every seven months.

That simply isn’t the way it will go.

EUROPEAN Union bosses could create a time border between Northern Ireland and Great Britain by forcing Belfast to adhere to a Brussels directive to abolish changing the clocks in the winter.


There are four possible actions here. The European Union continues with changing the clocks or it stops. The UK continues with changing the clocks or it stops. However, two of those possible four variations are ruled out entirely – simply because we’re not all raving maniacs.

The EU stopping and us continuing, the EU continuing and us stopping – those are simply not going to happen. The costs of being different from Europe – note, not the EU, but Europe – are simply too high for whatever possible savings there might be of any course of action. Those costs are not when the Sun rises or falls by how we set our clocks, but the costs of making the change. Anything which starts – train, ferry, plane – in the one zone and ends in the other has its schedule entirely shafted twice a year. That’s a large cost. It’s for this reason that Switzerland follows the EU dates on when clocks do change.

The only two possible outcomes are that the EU doesn’t make the changes, therefore the UK won’t, or it does continue to and we will also. There is simply no possibility therefore of us ending up with a Northern Ireland clock change problem. Simply because the UK is not going to end up on a different schedule from the rest of Europe.

No, no, we agree, many entirely stupid things have been done in Europe over the decades but no one is going to be as ravingly idiotic as to have some parts changing the clocks and others not. Simple coordination problem here and no one is going to do that. No, it doesn’t matter what the arguments are on either side, to change or not, we’re not going to do it differently from our neighbours.

Of course, if Jezza gets elected then set the clocks back 50 years but even then we’ll only be doing that the once.

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Quentin Vole
Quentin Vole

In the US, it used to be the case that parts (counties) in a single state differed as to whether to implement daylight savings – I think this may have been ‘rectified’. I recall a West Wing episode predicated on this (I think it was Indiana, but happy to be corrected).


Indiana, a farm state, ignored DST for a long time. The six counties closest to Chicago, Illinois are in its (Central, GMT-6) time zone. Referring again to the Wikipedia article I cited yesterday, a state can opt into or out of Daylight Savings Time. But opting for year-’round DST is effectively opting out and moving to a different time zone, and “moving a state or an area within a state from one time zone to another requires a regulation issued by DOT. The governor or state legislature may initiate a request for the state or any part of the state.”… Read more »


No, there is yet another binary option: Free Britain decides that Northern Ireland will continue with changing the clocks, or stop. Or put it this way, only in the case that Free Britain decides differently from the EU: Britain decides that Northern Ireland will align with British time, because Northern Ireland is part of Britain; or that Northern Ireland will align with time in the rest of the island it is on. Do you adjust your watch when going somewhere else in your country? or somewhere else on your island? It doesn’t ruin your day either way, does it? Let… Read more »


Personally I would like to go to double British Summer Time. And then stay there. Much rather have the additional light at night even it it does mean that there is darkness in the mornings untill 10:00 am.