Leading article: Glasgow Mean Time - why not?

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The Independent Online

Is it dark yet? An hour before time? Depending on the order in which you read the newspaper - and it may be that you are still settling into new compact routines, if you see what we mean - by the time you get down here it is possible that the chariot of Helios has already raced down below the horizon.

It is one of those autumn rituals in the why-oh-why department. Why are Christmas decorations so early? Must we burn Catholic effigies? Why plunge our winter afternoons into darkness, to suit the crofters of Cromarty?

The debate about putting the clocks back has been going on ever since the First World War. Time for lateral thinking, or, rather, latitudinal thinking. If the English wouldn't mind moving to central European time, and the Scots would, then let devolution work.

Separate time zones for the UK are as good as separate rules on smoking. Scotland can stick to GMT in winter, renamed Glasgow Mean Time. England can go continental. Wales might go for half an hour later than England, just to be different. Ken Livingstone could put the clocks in London 10 minutes ahead of the rest of the country just to show what a dynamic and go-ahead capital city it is. After all, there already is a special time-warp around 10 Downing Street, operating on US Eastern time.

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