Does the insistent buzzing of an alarm clock wake you in the morning? Depending on when you went to sleep, what day of the week it is, or how well you have slept, the chances are that you have little idea of where you are, or why that infernal bell is clanging in your ear.
When you do finally figure out what is going on, one of the few redeeming factors of the situation is when you remember that it was you who set the alarm clock and that you had chosen to wake at this time – albeit at the behest of your paymasters.
Say your chosen hour was 7am – how would you feel if by diktat of the European Union, or another foreign power, 6.30am was now the new 7am…? Angry? Rebellious? Murderous even? How dare they steal half an hours sleep from you!
Ms Raccoon has just noticed that 100 years ago today, the British parliament imposed Greenwich Mean Time on the population of Ireland. Previously Ireland had run on ‘Dublin Mean Time’ because the sun rose there 25 minutes and 21 seconds later in Dublin than it did in Greenwich.
Those whose days were dictated by natural light and the rhythm of their cattle suddenly found that they were expected to get out of bed in the dark and stumble out to the stables in order to get the milk on the train, which ran on Greenwich Mean Time, naturally.
It has been shown that night shift workers who constantly wake in the dark, and survive on less than optimal sleep, are more likely to suffer a range of serious illnesses – cancer, diabetes, and heart complaints. To say nothing of being terminally bad tempered and minded to wreak vengeance on whoever or whatever had disrupted their sleep. It’s bad to sleep too little; it’s also bad, and maybe even worse, to wake up when it’s dark.
A rural population which had been refining their inbuilt circadian rhythm for centuries by taking care never to breed with ‘foreigners’ – i.e. anyone from more than four miles away – suddenly have 25 minutes of sleep time ‘stolen’ from them.
An entire population already enraged by the events of Easter Sunday, kicked out of their beds half an hour early, purely for the benefit of the British railway and telegraph companies – need we consider any other reason for the desire of some in Eire to exterminate the British as a race?
Has anyone ever studied the effect of Greenwich Mean Time on Irish Nationalism? I’ve tried searching but can find nothing.