Leave Scotland on "tundra time," says historian

Fri Oct 23, 2009 6:42am EDT
 
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - As Britain prepares to put the clocks back this weekend, one of its leading historians has called for the UK to join the same time zone as the rest of Europe -- and leave Scotland in the dark.

On Sunday the clocks go back one hour to GMT to provide more daylight in the morning, a tradition Alistair Horne called "absolutely crazy."

"The Scots do have a problem because, being that much nearer the North Pole, they do have a very short day," Horne told the BBC's Today program.

"But when you look at the map of time, it is absolutely crazy. European time stretches from the eastern frontier of Poland to the western frontier of Spain and the only country which is on Portuguese time is Britain."

Horne, 83, who said he was 99 percent Scottish, said the rest of the UK should not lose an hour of evening daylight just because Scottish farmers did not want to milk in the dark.

He said that the Scottish argument had traditionally been that it made it safer for children traveling to school in the morning.

However, Horne suggested more children were run over returning from school tired and in the dark and that Scotland could have its own "tundra time."

Tundra is a geological term relating to a vast treeless zone with permanently frozen subsoil.

Horne went on to say that Scotland could make their own decisions, meaning the rest of the UK could lose its ties to a time zone that does not suit it.

"You can be in France in 21 minutes (on the Eurostar train) but you have to change your clocks and work out when all your appointments are," he added.

(Reporting by Neil Maidment; Editing by Steve Addison)