Scene: a meeting room in the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. Two politicians, a civil servant and a scientist are gathered.
Politician #1: Welcome, gentlemen. And madam, of course.
Politician #2: Don’t patronise me, you little sewer rat.
Scientist: Can we just establish what we’re here for, first? As I understand it –
Civil Servant: If I may summarise the situation? (Blank stares all round. He presses on.) An overwhelming majority – thirteen to none – seems to be in favour of changing the current regime whereby, twice a year, everybody in the country is obliged to alter all their timepieces by one hour, forward in the spring and backward in the autumn –
P #1: Oh for mercy’s sake –
C S: - and therefore that something needs to be done.
S: The answer’s obvious. Move the Greenwich meridian west by seventy miles.
P #2: And how exactly does that help my constituents in the Orkneys? Not to mention hard-working mothers on the school run who risk having their babies ploughed down by drunken drivers because it’s just too bloody dark? Eh?
P #1: Very good point, my dear. Of course, most people don’t live in the Orkneys, do they? They live in Buckinghamshire, and frankly those I talk to don’t seem to think there’s a problem. Most of them can’t go out in daylight anyway.
S: Of course, we could solve the north-south divide by rotating the Earth on a horizontal axis so that everyone gets their fair share of daylight … (Scratches head.) Hmm. This would have to be done gradually, of course … Perhaps on a weekly basis –
P #1: I like that. Could be a vote-winner. (Frowns.) Or a referendum-loser … (Cheers up.) Good for employment though. Plenty of intern jobs reprogramming satnavs …
S: Not to mention online maps -
C S: On a point of order, can I point out that we haven’t yet agreed on a name for this committee? Or terms of reference?
P #2: Can we discuss that over a pint?
P #1: First sensible thing you’ve said, my love. I believe they do a very acceptable Côte-Rôtie by the bottle down at the Snout and Sundial.
S: (Looks at watch.) Gosh, is that the time?
C S: So, next meeting? Same place and time, say April the first next year?
S: We’d better synchronise our watches. (Fiddles with watch.) Right, mine’s synchronised.
Exeunt, to the sound of Big Ben tolling noon.