Leading article: The time has come for lighter evenings

Could it be that this is the last weekend that Britain's hard-working families (and everyone else) will enjoy an extra hour in bed, thanks to the switch to winter time?

Wary of the passions raised by such an apparently simple matter as clock-changing, the Government appears to have scaled back its initial enthusiasm for year-round summer time, and is proposing a three-year trial instead.

We have been this way before, of course, between 1968 and 1971, and then reverted to Greenwich Mean Time in winter and the two-season year. But there are reasons why this trial, if it happens, could – and should – become more permanent.

Opposition among specific groups, such as farmers, has declined since then, and Scotland's greater autonomy, following devolution, means that Scots' strong preference for dark evenings over dark mornings could carry less weight in the Union as a whole. The English, Welsh and Northern Irish would have something to say about a Scottish tail wagging a UK dog. If we are out of step with much of Europe by not being part of the euro, this move would least mean aligning our clocks with large areas of the Continent.

Our one regret would be the passing of GMT. If its significance became only historical, what would Greenwich do next?