[LEAPSECS] UK clocks change trial being considered

Markus Kuhn Markus.Kuhn at cl.cam.ac.uk
Mon Oct 31 06:16:59 EDT 2011

"Richard B. Langley" wrote on 2011-10-28 17:05 UTC:

> "The government is considering moving the UK's clocks forward by an

> hour for a three-year trial period."


> More: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-15490249

I first thought this really belongs more onto the Time Zone Database
mailing list, which no doubt many here also subscribe to:


This mailing list here is about keeping clocks in sync with terrestrial
astronomy (when does the sun rise?), whereas the other one is about
keeping clocks in sync with regional politics (when do we have to get
out of bed?).

Then it dawned me that there is of course a subtle overlap; the
Babylonians knew already too well that you can't ever separate astronomy
from politics. If we abandon leap seconds in the global reference time
(currently called UTC), the meridian where the global reference time
matches local mean solar time (currently going through London Greenwich)
will accelerate eastwards. So if the UK government is concerned, say for
reasons of prestige and spin, about maintaining the UK's status as a
place where civilian (winter) time and global reference time coincide,
adopting the civil time of Paris would be a wise things to do in the
long run, e.g., from about the year 2600 onwards, especially considering
that the practical implementation of the alternative, namely UTC leap
hours, are a rather unrealistic prospect. So no harm done in practicing
such an important strategic move as conquering the French/German
timezone already early on, *at least* 600 years in advance ...

Markus ;-)

Markus Kuhn, Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge
http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~mgk25/ || CB3 0FD, Great Britain

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