British Summer Time begins: clocks go forward

The clocks will go forward by one hour on Sunday 25 March as British Summer Time begins for another year. The official time changes at 1.00 am, moving forward to 2.00 am across the UK.

British Summer Time

British Summer Time (BST) starts each year on the last Sunday in March and ends on the last Sunday in October. On Sunday 25 March the clocks will go forward, meaning we lose an hour. British Summer Time ends on 28 October at 2.00 am when the clocks go back to 1.00am.

BST is operational on the following dates:

2012 2013 2014
Start of BST (clocks go forward) 25 March 31 March 30 March
End of BST (clocks go back) 28 October 27 October 26 October

Summer time changes on standard dates throughout the EU, so Britain and Ireland constantly remain an hour behind most of Central Europe.

The history of daylight saving time

In 1907 an Englishman, William Willett, campaigned to advance clocks by 80 minutes. He proposed four moves of 20 minutes at the beginning of the spring and summer months, and to return to Greenwich Mean Time in a similar manner in the autumn. The following year, the House of Commons rejected a Bill to advance the clocks by one hour during the spring and summer months.

Summer time was first defined in an Act of Parliament in 1916. The clocks were moved one hour ahead of GMT from the spring to the autumn.

During the Second World War, double summer time (two hours in advance of GMT) was introduced, lasting until July 1945.

Since the 1980s, all parts of western and central Europe have co-ordinated the date and the time of their clock changes.

Let the quality take care of the yeomanry

Long before he became Emperor and retired to Capri to devote himself to whatever passed for hard porn in the first century AD, Tiberius was a brilliantly successful Roman general. His troops did not like him (no one did: he had half the warmth and charm of Alan Sugar). But they were willing to die for him, because while he was a fearsome taskmaster, he never asked anything more of them than he was prepared to endure himself. If they had to sleep in the open air and eat vile, maggoty food, he slept beside them and ate the same rations, and he always charged into battle at the head of the vanguard. Whatever it happened to be, in other words, he and his men were all in it together.

In troubled times that lend themselves to mutinous resentment, there is everything to be said for leading from the front. Our masters might ponder this as they reflect on the fall-out from the Budget.

If David Cameron and George Osborne made themselves hostages to fortune on Wednesday, the specific fortune in each case is their own. They may not be vast fortunes by the standards of their social sets, yet neither would be foolish enough to deny that he is extremely well off, nor be so naive as to doubt the damage that the perception of wealth has the potential to inflict.

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This Budget proved the Coalition parties are good for each other

Please find me a pensioner who, as a result of the Budget’s freezing of pensioner tax allowances and this year’s increase in the state pension combined, will be worse off. If you can’t, then please shut up.

I don’t believe you can. Of course, there may well be pensioners who will be worse off because of the Budget for other reasons – they will have to pay more stamp duty if they sell their £2 million house, or they must cough up (mot juste) more for cigarettes – but, in virtue of being pensioners, they are fine.

Because of the “triple lock”, the state pension now rises by the rate of wage increases or price increases or 2.5 per cent, whichever is the higher. This is a much better deal than in the past. No “granny tax” has been invented: it is simply that age-related tax allowances, more favourable to the old than to working people, are being frozen. But the reason for this is that the personal allowance for everyone – the threshold at which people start to pay income tax – is shooting up. By the next election, it will almost certainly have attained for all the level which, until now, has applied only to pensioners.

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The world is turning conservative, so liberals are eating their words

Liberals of various descriptions make so much noise in British public life that it’s easy to overlook the fact that liberalism has run into deep trouble on the world stage. For an illustration, consider a joint interview given this week by Tony Blair and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia and Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Mrs Sirleaf is asked about the fact that homosexuality is illegal in her country. She replies: “We like ourselves just the way we are.” Pressed on the point, she confirms that she will not sign any legislation decriminalising “sodomy”.

Mr Blair is a champion of gay rights, so you’d expect him to take issue with this statement. Not a bit of it. “The President’s given her position, and this is not one for me,” he says.

Here’s another interesting vignette, again involving a Labour politician, but this time on his home turf. This week Ken Livingstone was accused by Jewish Labour supporters of telling them at a private meeting that since Jews tended to be rich he wasn’t expecting them to vote for him. In a letter published in the Jewish Chronicle, they also accused Livingstone of using the word “Jewish” in a pejorative manner. And this just weeks after he described the%

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Mystery solved? Turin Shroud linked to Resurrection of Christ

For centuries the Turin Shroud, regarded by some as the burial cloth of Jesus, by others as the most elaborate hoax in history, has inspired extraordinary and conflicting passions. Popes, princes and paupers have for 700 years been making pilgrimages the length of Europe to stand in its presence while scientists have dedicated their whole working lives to trying to explain rationally how the ghostly image on the cloth, even more striking when seen as a photographic negative, and matching in every last detail the crucifixion narrative, could have been created. And still a final, commonly agreed answer remains elusive, despite carbon-dating in 1988 having pronounced it a forgery.

“That’s what first attracted me,” says Thomas de Wesselow, an engagingly serious 40-year-old Cambridge academic. “I’ve always loved a mystery ever since I was a boy.” And so he became the latest in a long line to abandon everything to try to solve the riddle of the Shroud.

Eight years ago, de Wesselow was a successful art historian, based at King’s College, making a name for himself in scholarly circles by taking a fresh look at centuries-old disputes over the attribution of masterpieces of Renaissance painting.

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