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Noted historian Sir Alistair Horne has described as "absolutely crazy" Blighty's refusal to fall into line with the continental European time zone.

Speaking to the Beeb's Today programme, Sir Alistair admitted that while putting the clocks back an hour this Sunday might benefit Scottish dairy famers, giving them some extra daylit milking time of a morning, it was of no use to the rest of the UK.

He said: "The Scots do have a problem because, being that much nearer the North Pole, they do have a very short day. But when you look at the map of time it is absolutely crazy. European time stretches from the eastern frontier of Poland to the Western frontier of Spain and the only country which is on Portuguese time* is Britain."

Sir Alistair - a self-professed "99 per cent" Scotsman - dismissed the traditional argument that putting back the clocks "made it safer for children going to school in the morning", not unreasonably suggesting that "more children were run over when they were returning from school tired and in the dark".

Sir Alistair concluded by suggesting that if the Scots didn't like the idea of falling into line with Europe, they could adopt their own "tundra time" and carry on milking their cows in peace. ®

Bootnote

*Portugal is an hour behind the rest of Europe, in common with Blighty. Or, as one of my Spaniard mates uncharitably put it, it's actually ten years behind Europe, so an hour or so either way makes no odds.

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