Friday, 27 January 2012

Lighter Later: The One That Got Away

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 insisted that 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 (including yours – Julian Huppert) 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:

The 10% challenge
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.

Click here to give it a try.

Solar Schools
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.

Click here to find out more.

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!

Onwards and upwards,

Daniel Vockins
Campaign manager, 10:10 Lighter Later

P.S. Lots of you have been asking for more details about what happened in the Commons last week, so we've written up a summary of the day's twists and turns, including a full list of the MPs that supported and opposed the bill.

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