WHAT A DIFFERENCE AN
Everybody loves the sunshine. But every year we set our clocks so that we get less of it in our lives, sleeping through the sunlit mornings while we use expensive, polluting electric lights to keep out the dark nights.
The debate around how we set our clocks has been raging for decades with many calling for changes which would brighten all of our days, by changing the clocks so we are awake when the sun is out.
10:10 took up the call for lighter evenings in March 2010 as the best proof yet of 10:10’s bright idea – that cutting carbon and making life better can and should go hand in hand. Changing time was never going to be easy – we’re taking a break from campaigning on this for a while but we’re not going to be resting on our laurels!
10:10 runs innovative projects that aim to make life better for both the planet and people. If you’d like to hear more about our other projects, sign up to stay in touch. We’ll also let you know about any future daylight saving developments!
The Private Members Bills that will make their way through parliament in the next session were announced today and, sadly, the Daylight Saving Bill wasn’t one of them.
Some backbenchers can go their entire political careers without being drawn in the PMB ballot so deciding which issue to focus on isn’t something those who do get drawn take lightly. We were lucky in that we had a huge number of supporters in the MPs who were drawn, but none of them were clock change evangelists.
We want to say a huge thank you to the Sport + Recreation Alliance who worked with us to bag a bill this time round. We phoned, we emailed, we sent letters, you sent in hundreds of letters too, but when it came down to it just-as-worthy issues got chosen – such as mental health, welfare of carers, rules around missing people and scrap metal theft.
So what next …
Well, the sun has not set on the daylight saving debate but without a Private Members Bill to get behind we’re in a bit of a sticky situation. The government, although it supports the call for a review, won’t do it of their own accord. And actually, for the issue in the long run, it’s probably better they don’t. Without a strong bill there would be nothing in place to hold them to account – ie there would be no framework with which to ensure they acted on what they found.
Although we’ve moved the issue further than it’s been in decades, there aren’t many other legislative avenues we can saunter down right now. But despair not dear comrades! This is an issue that won’t go away. Our next Clock Change Evangalista will step forward very soon – and by then the complex political situation that’s held the issue back may well be very different.
This is an idea whose time WILL come.
All those who have volunteered on the campaign over the years: Amy, Simon, Becca, Krysia, Kasja, Suki, Sion, Jon, John, Richard and John.
The amazingly talented Ayesha Garret who designed our Lighter Later livery and the wonderful Tom Flannery.
Rebecca Harris MP and her awesome staff Anthony and Andrew, who worked their socks off and were always a pleasure.
All those who’ve offered invaluable advice and professional support; especially George McGregor, Dr Mayer Hillman, Lesley Riddoch, Paul Godzik, Martyn Williams, Guy Shrubsole and Dr Elizabeth Garnsey.
Our wonderful coalition; special thanks to James Stibbs and the team the Sports + Recreation Alliance, Tom Mullarkey and Michael Corley at RoSPA, Kurt at the Tourism Alliance, Miranda at BIAZA, Rob at PACTS, Ellie at Sustrans and all at the wonderful Orchard Campsite.
Our fabulous facebook heroes who have kept even the most heated debate reasonable … John McNab, Rick Green, Jeremy Wood, Kim Richmond, Tina Szucs, Cindy Adams, Peter Greenhill & Domhnall Dods.
And every single one of our supporters who have written to MPs, debated with family and neighbours, and discussed it down the pub.
We raise a glass to you all and to the daylight saving debate and all who sail in her.
Proposing new laws is generally the preserve of the government apart from a once-a-parliamentary-session ritual known as the Private Members Bill (PMB) Ballot. 20 Chosen Ones have now been drawn from the parliamentary version of a hat. These lucky backbench MPs will get to table a policy they’re passionate about.
Lobby groups the length and breadth of the land will be poised to leap on those drawn in the ballot, to convince them to take up their cause. The proposals are debated in order so many don’t get to see the light of day (well, the light of the House of Commons to be more precise) as so little time is actually set aside for PMBs. Those in the top 7 will be hounded the most as they get to choose time slots first so are normally ensured a decent hearing.
So, all this considered, bagging a bill ain’t easy! But we’re up for the fight. Are you? The Chosen Ones will be making their minds up right now. We need everyone to get behind us on this one … have you emailed your MP yet? If they’re not one of the lucky 20, they might be friends with someone who is!
To address a few frequently asked questions; this blog explains how it will be different this time round. Put simply, it’s a question of time … we gained a huge amount of ground with the Daylight Saving Bill, so wonderfully spearheaded by Rebecca Harris MP, that we’re not going from a standing start. We have government support, huge cross-party backing, and the majority of MPs now know the issue well and support the bill.
Having this level of support from the get-go means it’ll be much harder for *certain* MPs (;-) to derail the bill like they did last time. They can blow off steam for as long as they like, and we’ll still have plenty of time for the crucial vote.
Once more in to the breach my friends. Keep everything crossed.
So we’re heading in to British Summertime 2012. Sunday’s clock change will bring with it lighter evenings and our thoughts are turning to the next stage of our little campaign.
We have our sights fixed on May and the next Private Members Bill (PMB) ballot.*
But won’t it just get talked out again? Well, the fall of the Daylight Saving Bill was, ironically, down to time. Gaining Government support should have meant that the bill would have easily passed into legislature but over a year had elapsed after it was first debated. Even if it *had* passed January’s third reading we would have really been up against it to make it though the Lords and back before the end of the session.
Ed Davey, the minister whose brief included ‘time’, has assured us that any MP who picked up the Daylight Saving Bill could bank on the government’s ongoing support. He said:
“The Government is clear that this is an issue which many MPs will want to return to, and in the next session of Parliament – only a few months away – it is possible that another backbencher will wish to pick up Rebecca Harris’ Bill. Given it was amended in committee to secure Government support, any MP choosing to do so is likely to have more reassurance that the Bill would then have a smooth and more rapid passage.”
Kicking off the new parliamentary session with government support from the word go would mean we’d have none of the delays and feet dragging we were so frustrated by. If the filibusters and wreckers try to derail us again we’ll have more time to let them blow off steam and assure we get a proper vote.
There are, as always, no guarantees. The world of politics is a weird and wonderful place full of surprises. What we are sure of however is the unwavering support we have both inside and outside parliament.
* The ballot … Any backbencher who wants in with a chance puts their name in a hat and 20 are drawn out. These lucky few get to propose legislation on an issue they care about. The proposals are debated in order so many don’t even see the light of day (well, the light of the House of Commons to be more precise) as so little time is actually set aside for PMBs.
As you may have already heard, Sir George Young has decided not to give MPs a chance to vote on the Daylight Saving Bill.
Under pressure from MPs, Young insistedthat even if the bill was given more time in the Commons, there’d be no chance of it getting through the House of Lords and back again before parliament goes into recess.
This isn’t the end. After a record 4,500 of you wrote to Sir George to ask for more time, MPs are already demanding that the policy be taken up again in May, when the next round of private members’ bills are submitted. If the wording stays the same, it stands a very good chance of going through.
But Young’s decision does bring this chapter of the campaign to a close, and it feels like a good moment to take a step back and remember how far we’ve come…
Lighter Later so far: 4 things to be proud of
Together we’ve pushed this issue further forward than it’s been for decades. Here’s how…
1.Lighter evenings everywhere
Together we pushed lighter evenings right up the national agenda. Mountains of media coverage – everywhere from Nuts to Newsnight – played a big part, but it was also thanks to supporters like you spreading the word and debating the issues with family and friends.
2. Busting the myths
We worked hard to challenge the popular myths and show that clock change would be good for Scotland. As a result, the Scottish branch of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents joined the Lighter Later coalition, and the National Farmer’s Union in Scotland came out in favour of the bill.
3. Breaking the rules
People told us that no-one would bother contacting their MPs without a pre-written letter, but you proved them wrong. As of midday today, Lighter Later supporters (many of whom had never done anything political before) have used our lobbying tool to send 26,349 individually-written messages to their MPs. And that’s not counting all the phone calls,meetings and Tweets you racked up at the same time.
And it worked. Thanks to your lobbying, 144 MPs turned up in the Commons on what should have been the quietest day of the week. If the debate had been allowed to go to a vote, the bill would have passed with a huge majority.
4. Fixing parliament?
But there’s a silver lining to this cloud of injustice. The scandal of ‘the vote that never was’ has shown just how broken the current system is, and electrified the campaign for reform. We’ll be keeping an eye on this as it develops, and getting behind it when the moment comes. Who knows, we may end up changing more than just the clocks!
Taking a breather … or not!
So for the next little while, things will probably go a bit quiet on the lighter evenings front. Until things start moving again in parliament, we can take some time to catch our breath.
We first got interested in clock change because it shows how we can save energy and tackle climate change while making communities healthier, safer and stronger. If you like the sound of that, you should take a look at the other projects we run:
More than 100,000 people, families, schools, hospitals, churches, shops, offices factories and farms are working together to cut their carbon footprint by 10% in one year.
A groundbreaking project to help schools get solar panels by raising money from the local community. We’re currently trialling the programme with schools in Reading, Cambridge, Norwich and the Scilly Isles, and are hoping to launch it nationally later this year.
It’s been a real privilege to work with you on the Daylight Saving Bill, so if you’re not one of the 10,000-or-so Lighter Later supporters that’s already involved with other 10:10 projects, we’d love to have you on board.
Thank you for all your amazing work so far – I really can’t say that enough!
So it’s been a week since the big House of Commons debate on the Daylight Saving Bill and the dust has settled a little.
Whilst the bill was only 6 pages long it attracted over 100 amendments tabled by a handful of MPs. Many were so barmy they weren’t considered worthy of airtime – renaming the bill ‘Berlin Time Act’ for instance. Out of the 100, 28 made it onto the list for discussion and were grouped into three – so 3 groups of amendments meaning 3 debates.
Even with overwhelming support – over 140 MPs – the chips were stacked against us. Christopher Chope MP, famous for talking out Private Members Bills, took up the whole first hour almost singlehandedly. MPs employed the rarely used Standing Order 29 (the ‘Golding Closure’) which, to cut to the chase, was simply a vote to make him sit down and shut up!
The vote half-an-hour later kicked the first block of amendments firmly to the curb – the second block also soon fell but by the time it came to the third block it was clear that there simply wasn’t going to be enough time! A small number of MPs employed further timewasting tactics which can only be described as mmm arsing around in the ‘noe lobby’. Oh how we could have done with that ‘extra hour’!
In the words of Kerry McCarthy MP (her blog is well worth following) – “It’s taken me seven years and a spell as the duty whip for Private Members’ Bills to get my head round all the technicalities, and I’m still learning”. Us mere mortals have little hope of fully grasping all that went on last Friday. All we can say for sure is that the procedural rules are crazy and the calls for reform of the system are louder than ever.
Time may have run out for this Parliamentary session, but the frustrated mood of the House and of the people who have been calling for clock change has certainly been heard in all the right places.
And now for some numbers …
- Of 160 MPs present, 70% of all words spoken were from 10 MPs.
- The same 10 MPs consistently voted to extend the debate.
- 146 MPs consistently voted to progress the debate.
- 25% of all words spoken at the debate were by one MP (approx 50mins of talking), Christopher Chope, who consistently voted to extend the debate. Ironic that there was so much blatant time-wasting in a debate about wasted time!
Mark D’Arcy over at the BBC blogged events as they unfolded – makes for a good read.
You can check out the full transcript of the debate here.
The votes on Friday were many but we’ve been through the transcript of the debate and the vote registers and pulled out the key names of who was for and against.
The roll call of honor …
Adam Afriyie, Adrian Sanders, Alan Haselhurst, Alan Whitehead, Albert Owen, Alison Seabeck, Alun Michael, Andrew Jones, Andrew Smith, Andy Slaughter, Angie Bray, Annette Brooke, Barry Sheerman, Ben Bradshaw, Ben Gummer, Bob Stewart, Caroline Lucas, Caroline Nokes, Charlie Elphicke, Charlotte Leslie, Chris Bryant, Chris Huhne, Chris Kelly. Chris Leslie, Chris White, Claire Perry. Clive Betts, Clive Efford, Damian Collins, Dan Jarvis, David Davis, David Gauke, David Heath, David Heyes, David Lidington, David Morris, David Rutley, David Tredinnick, Don Foster, Edward Davey, Fiona Bruce, Frank Field, Gavin Barwell, George Hollingbery, Gerald Howarth, Gerald Kaufman, Glenda Jackson, Graham Allen, Greg Hands, Greg Knight, Gregory Barker, Heather Wheeler, Heidi Alexander, Hugh Bayley, Ian Murray, Jack Lopresti, Jane Ellison, Jeremy Corbyn, Jessica Lee, Jim Dowd, Jim Fitzpatrick, Jim Paice, Joan Ruddock, Joan Walley, John Cryer, John Glen, John Leech, John McDonnell, John Penrose, John Randall, John Whittingdale, Jon Cruddas, Julian Huppert, Julian Smith, Julie Hilling, Justine Greening, Karen Bradley, Karen Buck, Kerry McCarthy, Kwasi Kwarteng, Laura Sandys, Margaret Hodge, Mark Field, Mark Harper, Mark Lazarowicz, Mark Pawsey, Mark Tami, Martin Vickers, Mary Macleod, Matthew Hancock, Meg Munn, Michael Fabricant, Mike Gapes, Mike Penning, Mike Weatherley, Nick Gibb, Nick Herbert, Nick de Bois, Oliver Colvile, Oliver Heald, Paul Blomfield, Penny Mordaunt, Peter Aldous, Peter Bottomley, Peter Luff, Philip Hollobone, Phillip Lee, Richard Ottaway, Robert Buckland, Robert Halfon, Robert Neill, Robert Syms, Roberta Blackman-Woods, Roger Gale, Roger Godsiff, Sarah Newton, Seema Malhotra, Shailesh Vara, Simon Burns, Simon Hughes, Simon Kirby, Stephen Hammond, Stephen Lloyd, Stephen Metcalfe, Stephen O’Brien, Stephen Phillips, Stephen Pound, Steve Brine, Steve Webb, Stuart Bell, Tessa Jowell, Tessa Munt, Theresa Villiers, Therese Coffey, Thomas Docherty, Tim Yeo, Tobias Ellwood, Tom Brake, Tom Greatrex, Tom Harris, Valerie Vaz, Zac Goldsmith.
And then in the ‘noe’ camp …
Christopher Chope, Philip Davies, Jacob Rees Mogg, Angus Brendan MacNeil, Steve Baker, Peter Bone, Stewart Hosie, Iain Stewart, Dr Elidh Whiteford, David Nuttal, Iain Stewart, Matthew Offord.