March 2007 Archives

HOTFOOT 06.9.16 Richard Gordon-Smith, Tony Burrage & HOPES Festival Orchestra (small) 90x115.jpg The annual 'HOTFOOT' Concert in Liverpool's Philharmonic Hall - set this year for 7 p.m. on Sunday 22 July - has been a Midsummer favourite for over a decade now. HOPES: The Hope Street Association, the charity which promotes and produces the concert, is delighted that the 2007 concert will receive support of £5,000 from the Liverpool Culture Company.
Our theme this year is HOTFOOT 1977 - 2007 A Street of Hope for 30 Years. We would be thrilled if you too would be involved, support us and attend.

The annual HOTFOOT on Hope Street concert, put on by HOPES: The Hope Street Association, is always an exciting and incredibly positive event, but it does offer its own challenges. One of these is how are we, the Trustees of the sponsoring charity, HOPES, going to pay for it?

The idea of a concert led by fully professional musicians, but at which amateur and student performers are welcome regardless of age or background, is great. How many other opportunities are there in a year for people to sing and play on the stage of the world-famous Philharmonic Hall with musicians from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra? But the logistics and costs of this enterprise are not issues easily resolved.

Good news
So today's news for HOPES from the Liverpool Culture Company is fabulous. We are to receive from them the full £5,000 which we requested towards our budget.

This is really welcome not only because it reduces the worries about money (though there's still a substantial way to go) but because, we like to think, it is a recognition of the work we in HOPES have done over the years to enhance and promote the Hope Street Quarter and the communities which have a stakehold in that area of Liverpool.

The tasks ahead
But this is only a beginning. Writing a successful bid is one thing; delivering the project well is another altogether. The tasks ahead [**] which now confront us include:

* obtaining substantial further sponsorship to meet our costs;
* finalising details of the concert programme, to fit the agreed theme of HOTFOOT 1977 - 2007 A Street of Hope for 30 Years - we are planning another amazing world premiere by HOPES' Composer in Association, Richard Gordon-Smith;
* putting out the invitations to all who may be interested to join us as performers;
* arranging all the back-stage bureaucratic things which must be in place before any public performance;
* devising and delivering an effective marketing and promotions strategy;
* booking the best professional musicians to coach the non-professional performers and to take 'anchor player' roles in the concert;
* settling, and confirming with all performers, dates and venues for rehearsals and the like;
* designing and ordering the T-shirts (mementos which all performers get to keep, and so different every year);
* writing and publishing the fliers, poster and programmes (sponsors most welcome!); and
* ensuring the tickets sell well in advance, and on the day.

[** which I once listed poetically (!) in a light-hearted / light-headed post-performance moment]

Volunteers at work
Some of the professional musicians' time (quite rightly) apart, all these tasks are done by volunteers. But co-ordinating volunteers, even very willing and able ones, is not the easiest way to get anything done, and it all still takes a great deal of everyone's energy and time.

But at least we are now properly at the starting line; and as ever we are confident that the concert will be all we could wish for, a great evening out for performers and audience alike.

How you can help and get involved
So, if you'd like to help (thank you for asking), there are a number of ways you are most welcome to do this:

* You can be sure to buy tickets (from the Phil Hall box office, on 0151-709 3789, or via their website).
* If you sing, or can play an orchestral instrument at roughly Grade V or above, you would be most welcome to join us in the HOPES Festival Choir or Orchestra - just email us with your details and we will be in touch.
* You can ensure your colleagues, friends and neighbours all know about the concert, and how to get tickets and / or become involved in the performance.
* You could join HOPES and perhaps become part of the HOTFOOT organising or support team.
* You or your company would be welcomed with open arms if you would like to become a (profiled) sponsor of this event, which is fully supported by the Liverpool Culture Company; again, please just email us and we will get back to you.

Be there on Sunday 22 July at 7 p.m.!
If you're planning to be in Liverpool on 22 July there will only be one place to be - the Philharmonic Hall on Hope Street. More details will follow shortly, but do be sure to put HOPES' annual concert in your diary right now.

We look forward very much to seeing you at 7 p.m. on 22 July at HOTFOOT on Hope Street 2007, as part of Liverpool's 800th Anniversary ('Birthday') celebrations.

Steam & grass (small) 80x106.jpg World Water Day, today, is a little-remarked event but concerns an absolutely vital aspect of life. Wherever we live, and whatever we do, we can't be without water. This is an opportunity to pause and take a check (should we say, a 'raincheck'?) on how we view this most critical commodity, and on what we can do to help.

Coping With Water Scarcity is the theme of World Water Day 2007. There can be few themes as important as this.

World Water Day as an initiative grew out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) 'Earth Summit' in Rio de Janeiro.

Marking the day
One interesting idea about how to mark WWD 2007 has been to send an e-card, with a choice of pictures and stamps. This helps to spread the word that we all need to think carefully about water and what it means for everyone. Other years have seen initiatives such as the Celebrating Water for Life booklet, published on the internet in 2005.

Central and critical
To those of us in Western Europe and North America water is a commodity which seems to amount to a right. We know there are issues about water and sustainability, but we never really doubt it will be there for us.

In other parts of the world there is neither enough water for health and hygiene, nor any acceptable way to get access to it; I was shocked recently to read that in some parts of the world the fetching and carrying of water is a task undertaken by young girls, daily walking many miles, who thereby miss out on huge chunks of their schooling.

Take action to help
I have mentioned before that WaterAid is a charity set up simply to get clean water to people who desperately need it. Supporting this focused and straightforward objective [here] is something we can do any day, not just on World Water Day.

See also: Water, Water...

Dragon cafe-bistro illuminated name (small) 80x82.jpg Monday Women, the informal no-cost group of women from across Liverpool and beyond, is on the move again.
From April 2nd our first-Monday-in-the-month meetings will be held at Dragon on Berry Street, starting 5.45 pm, till about 7.30. There is no admission charge and all women are welcome.

Dragon cafe-bistro interior (small) 140x195.jpg After several great years meeting in Liverpool's Everyman Bistro, and a short but very happy sojourn at Heart And Soul, the Monday Women group is going to Chinatown. As of Monday 2 April (5.45 pm) our venue for monthly meetings will be Dragon, 48 Berry Street, in Chinatown, Liverpool,
L1 4JQ. (Tel: 0151-709 8879)

[Street map here.]

Dragon cafe-bistro view to street (small) 140x121.jpg Originally called St George and the Dragon, the current owner (Mary) of this venue has given it an oriental feel and renamed it simply... Dragon. The venue is now a cafe-bistro bar, serving home-made meals and drinks from 5.30-11 pm Mondays to Thursday, and noon - 2 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Sunday opening is 3-11 pm. Dragon runs a number of themed nights during the week (including acoustic and stand-up comic evenings), of which that for Monday early evenings is now.... Monday Women.

Dragon cafe-bistro entrance & street lamp (small) 140x122.jpg Dragon cafe-bistro spoof ladder-man on wall nextdoor (small) 140x62.jpg Location and landmarks
Locating Dragon is easy. It's close-by Liverpool's famous Chinese Arch and The Blackie, and not far in the other direction from the 'bombed out church' (St Luke's), but on the opposite, Bold Street side. Almost next door to Dragon is an unremarked but amusing landmark - a life-sized model of a man on a ladder, apparently painting the front of his shop at first-floor height.

On foot, by car, or public transport?
Only a couple of minutes' walk from Leece Street and Renshaw Street, there are many bus routes which can be taken in and out of town, and the central train services are very accessible. There is also car parking nearby, in the Knight Street facility just behind the China Palace Restaurant opposite Dragon.

Menu
Dragon's owner, Mary, and her colleagues are developing a menu which meets various requirements. Currently there is a somewhat focused choice of food, but the menu always includes a veggie option and a soup.

Mary is keen to learn how her Monday Women friends and customers would like the Monday menu to be developed!

All women welcome
Dragon cafe-bistro Buddha (small) 140x120.jpg Dragon cafe-bistro Mary, Felicity & Hilary 07.3.11 (small) 140x240.jpg Monday Women is a very informal grouping of well over two hundred women who live, work or have an interest in Liverpool and Merseyside. The group is very firm in its idea that this should be a group to which all women are welcome just as themselves, and there is therefore no joining fee, registration or any other formal arrangement. People can simply attend the informal meetings, or be a 'member' of the Monday Women email group, or both, with involvement just as often or as infrequently as they choose.

Pass the word
The only 'rule' is that people come expecting to find others who are also friendly and welcoming, and who have a huge range of interests, ideas and experiences to share. Please pass on the invitation to become a Monday Woman....

Or, if you live somewhere other than Merseyside, why not start your own group? There's room for us all!

Rainbow 3 (small) 85x89.jpg You’re very likely at college now, or learning on-the-job. Enjoy these new experiences! Ages 19, 20 and 21 for most young adults are ‘me time’, time to spread your wings and test the limits. Whatever you’re doing, use your freedom and energies to invest in your future, whilst you have some fun right now.

You'll already have devised your own Be Happy Rules; and only you can be sure what’s right for you. But have you considered these ideas as you consider the options ahead ....?

Climb a mountain
Did you know there are well over two hundred Munroes (mountains over 3,000 feet) in Scotland? Can you name the highest peaks in England, Scotland and Wales? (or whichever country you live in?) Why not face the challenge, and get to the top of a mountain every year?
But treat your mountains with respect; they require knowledge, the right gear, fitness and large quantities of common sense, even if you simply walk up them. So do it properly, perhaps with your college sports advisers or the Youth Hostel Association (YHA). Get prepared, form a team and reach the peak/s in style. That way you’ll return safely and come to a whole new understanding of how aching limbs can be the mark of real achievement.

Sort your gap year – or not
Are you planning a gap year? Can you say clearly why this is a good choice of how to spend your time? If you can, then go for it; the world is your oyster.
But if you don’t in all honesty know why you want that year out, maybe you need to think again. There are plenty of other ways to have adventures, without the enormous costs, and interruption to your studies / employment which a gap year imposes.

Step outside the stereotype
Is your idea of a good night out a visit to the pub? Or a concert? Or maybe just staying in with a new computer game? Just a few times a year, why not try something completely different? Sports, if you’re arty, the theatre if you’re an action (wo)man, a brisk walk in the park if you’re a bookworm? But be prepared. You’ll enjoy it more if you’ve got your head round the new experience – find knowledgeable friends, discover the plot of the play, pack a picnic and plan your route (or choose consciously to explore) – all before you start.

Penetrate the political
You’ve already discovered the practicals of actually how to vote, and in truth you do know you really must to use that vote. So now’s the time to get a proper grasp. If you don’t understand why the mainstream political parties spend so much time and energy disagreeing with each other, make it your business to find out.
There are fundamental differences between politicians’ perceptions of how the world works, and it’s these you’ll need to explore before you decide how to mark that ballot paper.

Eat well, stay well
We all need treats but we also know that food is fuel. It’s what makes us whole. What sort of a body do you want? How do you feel about the things that happen to food – its origins or its carbon footprint - before it reaches your plate?
Perhaps you could experiment occasionally with different styles of eating. Keep a diet (as in ‘food’, never as in ‘not eating’) diary and see how you feel after a few days with a particular mode for your meals. Does low GI help? Are you a high-cal person? Do you enjoy veggie? What we eat is what we are and only you can determine that for you, for the long-term.

Learn another language
Here’s a good excuse to get an InterRail card, or even to make your inter-continental booking to an adventure. Tell everyone you’re off to study another language.... and then do just that. It’s a lot easier to learn new languages – especially ones unlike your mother tongue - when you’re young, than later on!
You can find introductory ‘foreign’ language courses everywhere these days; you could even get a programme for your iPod. Then, when you’ve got to grips with the basics, pack your phrase book and passport, and practise on real people in the country of your choice. (No cheating, ‘letting’ people practise their English on you instead.) You’ll be amazed how much you can pick up in just a week or two if you try.

Re-think your family
Everyone sees their family as the backcloth to their lives. But now you’re fully independent, you can do a double take. Your parents aren’t just Mum and Dad any more, they can become people in their own right as much for you as they already are for their neighbours, colleagues and friends.
Why not choose to spend some time with family members, actually talking to them about their past experiences and their hopes for the future? There are doubtless many tales to be told, and perhaps some dreams still to be realised. So offer a listening ear, and explore a whole new way of looking at your nearest and dearest.

Play mind games
No, not by psyching other people out, but by having a go at new mental challenges – chess, cards, computers, what you will. A busy brain now will stay active longer, and nurturing ‘mental fitness’ is probably the biggest investment in your personal future that you could make.
Plus, it’s fun....

Be an eco- envoy
Whatever your situation, you can do your bit for the future. Even if you're 'between jobs' (ask yourself, Why?, if you are...) you can do things to help your community along.
For instance, many young people say the environment is a big concern. Perhaps you can find a role at work, college or wherever you are, turning this concern into positive action? This is truly an area where every little helps.

Believe in yourself
Nobody finds life a doddle. No matter how old and wise or hard and cynical they might seem, almost everyone worries about whether they've done the 'right thing' and whether they are liked by others. And, whether they recall it or not, they, like you, have had to negotiate the tricky years of young adulthood.
So, be gentle as you judge yourself. Conceit may not take you far, but self-belief is essential. Accept the 'failures' and mistakes, and learn from them; but much more importantly, do build on your successes. They are the base-line of your life ahead.

Have you read....?
Things To Do When You're 16 - 18
Things To Do When You're 22 - 25

What To Do At Any Age - Be Happy

* Life is not a rehearsal
* Smile when you can
* Do acts of random kindness
* Try no-TV days
* Be cautious sometimes, cynical never
* Use your pedometer
* Treat yourself daily to a 'Went Right' list

And why not share your alternative ideas here, too? You can add your own take on Things To Do When You're 19 - 21 via the Comments box below...

TheIndependent,water&climate (small) 90x102.jpg Today's Independent newspaper offers us a mixed message. Under a front page story entitled 'The Climate Has Changed' it features a special issue on 'the bill which makes action on global warming a reality'. And then, at the point of sale, it proposes a special offer of a free plastic bottle of water.... Celebration of a major breakthrough in environmental legislation is greatly to be welcomed. But toasting this particular achievement with such an environmentally unfriendly product tells us a lot about the contradictions of the market.

The Independent has long featured environmental issues as important news, and for that it should be applauded. A headline like today's 'Blair hails 'historic day' in battle against climate change', with a full seven pages of analysis, is indeed something to be welcomed.

But why on earth (to use an apt metaphor) did The Indy decide to promote sales (in some train stations at least), today of all days, by offering free bottled water - just at a time when large numbers of organisations are acknowledging the importance of good old water-from-the-tap?

Joined up thinking, this is not. Priority of marketing over content, it might well be. There's a way to go on the eco agenda yet...

Graduation caps & heads (small) 70x144.jpg Graduate retention is a serious aspect of any decent policy for regeneration. But the emphasis on new / young graduates alone is strange, when there are always also other highly qualified and more experienced people who might offer at least as much in any developing economy.

A recurring theme in the regeneration of cities and regions is the emphasis on retention of graduates. This is an entirely reasonable focus, given the cost of producing graduates and the potential which they have in terms of economic value. The flight of bright graduates from regional to capital cities is a well-marked issue for most regional economies.

Reducing the loss of graduate talent is generally a task allocated to the regional universities which have educated them. There is a whole sector of most regional knowledge economies which is dedicated simply to training and retaining graduates in the hope that they will enhance the economic performance of that region.

Extending the scope for retention
There are also now schemes which train 'women returners', women who have taken time out to raise a family or who have only later in their working lives decided to develop their formal skills. Generally these schemes give good value for the 'returners' and their future employers, at least in terms of providing competent middle-level practitioners and professionals; and certainly they can make a really significant difference to the lives of the women who undertake the training.

Overlooked and under-used
But there is another group of people with high skills who are often simply not geared into their local and regional economy in any meaningful way. These are often older, highly qualified and experienced graduate women who are no longer working (but are usually not registered as unemployed), and who may remain living in an area because they have family or other personal commitments there.

These women generally do not need any further training (except in the same way that other practising professionals might need it) and they often undertake a good deal of voluntary and unpaid work in their communities. Little of this work however is given any formal economic value, and even less of it is focused strategically on the requirements of their economic location.

How could their activities be strategically focused, when these women, often for reasons beyond their individual control, may have almost no continuing professional connection in their communities?

Invisible people
In an economy with a significant proportion of women leaders and decision-makers the 'invisible' older female graduate might be identified as a person with serious economic potential, someone for whom every effort should be made to find or create suitable high-level employment or enterprise opportunities commensurate with her qualifications and experience.

Highly qualified men are likely, we might suppose, to move to a job elsewhere which meets their requirements; the women may have no choice but to relinquish their employment, if their family moves elsewhere or if circumstances mean their job disappears. In many challenged regional and local economies however the scope to realise this female potential remains unperceived by those (mostly men) who decide the strategy for their local economies.

Doing the audit
Has anyone tried to estimate the numbers of 'non-economically-productive' highly qualified older women in a given regional or local economy undergoing regeneration? Does anyone know what these women currently contribute informally to their economies, or what they could contribute formally in the right contexts?

Older women are often seemingly invisible. My guess, from many private encounters, discussions and observations over the past few years, is that here is an almost totally untapped resource.

Nurturing all available resources
Retention of young graduates is of course critical to economic renaissance; but so is the gearing in of the potential of older and more experienced graduates. This is another example of why economic regeneration strategists need to appreciate and nurture more carefully what they already have, as well as what they would like for the future to procure.

This article is also linked from the New Start magazine blog of 14 March 2007.

Women at market (small) 70x71.jpg Today (8 March) is International Women's Day, when women are celebrated in many parts of the world. But after more than a century of campaigning, women and men remain unequal in wealth and power. It's time for an overtly feminist, gendered approach to economics, examining the differential impacts and advantages of economic activity on women and men.

The campaign for 'women's rights' has been going for a very long time now.

One of the original texts about women's rights, The Subjection of Women, was written in1869 by the Scottish radical philosopher John Stuart Mill. That's almost a century and a half ago. And so very much more has been written, said and done about this issue since then.

The question is, therefore: despite worthy events such as International Women's Day, why is there still such a long way to go?

Convenient inertia
'Convenient' is probably too kind a word to describe the collective failure to see the negative experience of most women in regard to economics, employment, public life and business. Nonetheless, the word convenience points us in the right direction if we want to explain the stifling inertia many women experience in their quest simply for equality.

There are many fair-minded and decent men, but there are also large numbers who would rather see inequality and exploitation anywhere except on their own doorstep. And since men still have more power and influence than women, it's often their perspectives which have the most weight. 'Women's equality' may not be a taboo subject, but it is certainly a sidelined one.

There's always something more urgent and important to address...

Economic analysis
So let's start to approach this, seriously, another way. Let's look routinely and quite expressly at how women and men fare in the economy and the corridors of power.

In other words, let's have an Economics which uses gender as an analytical tool in the same way that other Social Science analysis does. Only once the unspoken taboo had been broken did social scientists begin to perceive the realities of gender impact, direct and indirect, on society itself.

Moves in the right direction
Big steps are being made, with the introduction of equality standards for all English local authorities.

As part of these standards, Gender Impact Assessments, required from April 2007, are to be the vehicle through which the Women and Equality Unit and the Department for Trade and Industry is bringing into sharp focus the issue of gender in relation to the Government's Public Service Reform.

Start them young
Government policy, excellent in intention though it may be, is one thing. Taking matters seriously in wider society, even if there are sanctions for not doing so, is sometimes another.

The next steps are to ensure that Business / Enterprise Studies and Economics embed gender differentials into their curriculum from the very start. This should be as much a part of the Economics (and other) GCSE curricula as it already is the Social Science one. Early on is the best place to start.

And at the other end of the scale corporates at every level should be required to give much more 'gendered' (and other diversity-linked) information in their annual reports. Business moves where its pocket takes it, and the bottom line here is exactly that, the visible bottom line. At a time of claimed skills shortages, becoming gender conscious is good for business, as well as good for people.

Progress?
There are small initiatives such as the idea of the Conference Diversity Index, and also some much larger pointers to the future which thread through this train of thought.

In 2006 the London Business School launched the Lehman Brothers Business Centre for Women, with the intention of providing solutions for the challenges that businesses face in attracting and retaining talented women.

Signs of success
But alongside the urgent necessity to get more women to the very 'top' we need to ensure that most of them don't stay much nearer the bottom.

The costs of gender inequality impinge on us all. There are a few thinkers and scholars who have established a baseline here, but only when gender is a clearly articulated part of mainstream public consciousness, politics and business will we really be getting somewhere.

A shorter version of this article was published as a letter in The Guardian on 8 March 2007.

Study bookshelves (small) 90x111.jpg Not all academics are happy to see their students referred to as 'customers'. They have a point. The role of college lecturers is to ensure that their students gain the knowledge and skills required to take them further in their chosen fields. The 'student as customer' model is incomplete, if only because teaching staff inevitably know more about the chosen field than do learners. Along with the actual knowledge required, there may be scope to look afresh at the skills base students need - and at the implications of that for the 'consumer' status of students.

Edward Snyder, Dean of the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, is vexed about the notion of students as 'customers'. In an article published by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, he writes:

'Do we really want to tell them [students] that they are customers - and that they are always right - when we [post-graduate tutors] are in the last, best position to influence their overall academic, ethical and professional development?'

An important question
Prof Snyder asks an important question here - and it applies at least as much to pre-university and undergraduate students as it does to his very high fliers.

I recall one particularly demanding group of college students (all groups, as any teacher will tell you, have their own signature character and dynamic) who informed me very early on in their course that they didn't want to 'do' a given part of the syllabus because it was 'boring'.

My riposte - that they were on an externally prescribed and examined course, so were going to have to get on with it, and they could tell me their views again when they had completed that part of the syllabus - left some of them genuinely puzzled. It had never occurred to them that choices and judgements are best made on the basis of direct experience, not just hearsay or even less. For optimum results, you can't just pick'n'mix college education as you might your Saturday grocery shopping.

An extra dimension
The student - tutor interaction can never just be that of customer - salesperson; though it might sometimes be described as client - professional (for instance, when the learning is by overt mutual consent very focused and directed).

Usually, however, the learner - teacher relationship should be that of collaborator - facilitator, within a context of guidance and the tutor's expertise in the field being studied. This should ideally include encouragement by that tutor of efforts by the students to collaborate with each other (and, if possible, with more experienced practitioners) to explore the wider meanings and skills which lie behind the subject in question.

Beyond that, there may also, by mutual consent, be a role for tutors as their students' professional mentor and / or coach.

The challenge
There is a challenge here. It is relatively easy to evaluate 'customer satisfaction' and to respond to what one learns as a provider from such evaluation.

It is more difficult to measure the impact and future value of collaboration and skills development. But that is what adult students often require, just as much as younger learners.

The question is, how is this complex interactional 'contract' best negotiated between students and teachers, at a time when we are all encouraged from a very early age to see ourselves just as customers, selecting at whim what we will or will not 'consume'?


Read more articles about Education & Life-Long Learning.

Dusk in town (small) 80x91.jpg British Summer Time begins at 2 a.m. on Sunday 25th March this year (2007). Surveys suggest that both safety and energy saving would ensue from BST year-round, and a large majority of people will welcome the lighter evenings. But why have we just had to endure five months of days which end before the afternoon teabreak?

The evidence becomes ever more compelling.... As the Transport Research Laboratory has demonstrated over many years, British Summer Time is indeed best for almost all of us.

There are inevitably risks in any change, but sometimes the biggest risk lies in Doing Nothing. That's what applies to the odd practice of reducing afternoon daylight (in favour of 'lighter mornings') at the very point in the year when there is already least of it.

The 1968 - 71 'experiment'
The oft-recycled stories about children 'hating' having to wear fluorescent jackets because of the super-dangerous mornings during the 'experiment' of 1968 - 71 are selective recall, I'd suggest. I don't think I ever saw one child so clad.

But the debate goes on. And recently, as the TheyWorkForYou.com website admirably demonstrates, Tim Yeo MP has been proposing Single / Double Summer Time, which has incensed some even more.

The Scottish dimension
We know of course that there are people in Scotland who would prefer to keep the status quo, regardless of the proven greater overall risks of accidents, depression and poor health, but with devolved government, as Tim Yeo and before him Lord Tanlaw acknowledged, these can surely be addressed by those most involved.

But even in Scotland opinion is divided and the evidence for the status quo doesn't fully stack up (unless Scottish cows have learnt to tell the time and will rumble their herdsman adjusting the alarm clock to keep their bovine stock's milking hours stable...).

The evidence
As Tim Yeo and Lord Tanlaw have emphasised, even in Scotland there are plenty of people who would prefer the lighter evenings, whilst YouGov have found (December 2006) that 51% of workers feel less safe travelling home in the dark, with 71% of women saying the dark makes them feel uncertain and worried.

Likewise, when Victor Keegan ran a campaign a few months ago, he easily achieved his objective of 50 people asking their MPs to support Tim Yeo's bill. On energy saving grounds alone there are compelling reasons to suppose we should abandon British Mean Time. A majority of those voting supported it, but Tim Yeo's non-party Bill fell on 26 January 2007 because it did not gain more than one hundred votes.

Another way forward?
So what's holding things up? There are rather feeble claims (see TheyWorkForYou.com, as above) that an experiment in Portugal was not successful, but perhaps political nervousness about Scottish issues is, short-term, at the heart of the matter.

There is, however, a very simple and easy way to resolve things once and for all. Why not actually undertake a serious Government-led enquiry into all the evidence available, on energy, accidents, health, business and other impacts, examining England (and Wales and Northern Ireland) separately from Scotland?

And let's ask for the report to be produced by Sunday 28 October 2007, before the next grim return to Winter darkness, when British Summer Time is due to end. This, it seems to me, is a genuinely good example of when policy can indeed be informed by best practice in natural and social scientific research.
It really does need to be done, and soon.


The full debate about BST is in the section of this website entitled BST: British Summer Time & 'Daylight Saving' (The Clocks Go Back & Forward).....
See also:
Save Our Daylight: Victor Keegan's Pledge Petition
The Clocks Go Forward...And Back... And Forward...
British Summer Time Draws To A Close
Time Is Energy (And 'Clocks Forward' Daylight Uses Less)
The Clocks Go Forward ... But Why, Back Again?

Read the discussion of this article which follows the book E-store...