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10:49am on Sunday, 3rd December, 2017:



Every so often, there's a push for the UK to switch time zone from Greenwich Mean Time to Central European Time. The arguments are all to do with having more light in the late afternoon, with implications that this will be safer than the current arrangement. These are just a smokescreen, though: if they were valid, then citizens of the countries to the east of us currently on Central European Time would be lobbying to switch to Eastern European Time, and they're not. The real reason for the pressure to change is so we're in the same time zone as the bulk of the rest of Europe.

The reason this is a bad idea has little to do with light and much to do with heat. The sun provides light, yes, but it also provides heat. Having not provided heat during the night, this makes the coldest part of any 24-hour period most often be the hour before dawn. You really don't want to be switching on your heating an hour earlier for this, or to be walking to work or school in it. By making the argument about light, the pro-CET lobby is misperceiving what the objections are actually about: heat.

I see something similar regarding Brexit. The main arguments being marshalled against Brexit are economic. Those weren't the arguments that won the referendum, and they wouldn't win them in a second campaign, either. It would be trivially easy for leavers to counter every prophecy of economic doom with a similar prophecy made during the first campaign that came to nothing. Asking where the £350m promised by a bus to the NHS is, well even at the time the image appeared it was criticised for pre-empting future government policy. Pinning your hopes on this one "lie" persuading people to change their minds is going to lead to disappointment. All it does do is solidify views on either side.

If an economic argument was all that mattered for deciding whether or not the UK should be a member of the EU, well it should still leave. It should leave and join the USA or China. It's not going to do that, though, because there are laws and cultural differences that the USA and China have which are unacceptable to the majority of the UK population. The thing is, there are similar (although less pronounced) differences with the EU. The economy was only one reason for deciding whether to vote remain or leave. There were others, and they're being ignored by the remainers who are pushing for a "Brexit means remain" strategy. They're arguing about light and ignoring heat.

This entire debate has been deeply unimpressive on both sides. When I voted, I didn't want either side to win, and events since then have only entrenched my views (much as they have everyone else's in their own positions). It's a ghastly, horrible mess.

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