Sunday, May 17, 2009


Yesterday my state held a referendum to decide whether or not we would practice daylight saving. We've had it for the last three years as part of a trial run, but this state has a notorious antipathy towards daylight saving, so nothing less than a mandatory statewide plebiscite was needed to decide if we'd continue with it. As I have a casual position with the Electoral Commission for elections and referendums, I was called in to man a polling place for the duration of voting.

I worked in a fashionable, upmarket inner suburb where the Yes vote outnumbered the No vote by two to one. Of course all of the polling staff were too professional to discuss either the issue or the voters while any of the latter were in the building, but once polling finished they made their opinions known.

“I noticed a couple of people voting No,” sniffed the Peugeot-driving fashionista at the next desk. “They were from the country.” She said 'country' in a tone which suggested that it rhymed with 'Home for Mongoloid Children'.

“Yes, I've noticed a lot of elderly voting No too,” said her ironically tattooed partner, as if voting No was just another symptom of advanced Alzheimer's.

Sadly they were typical of their type. Prior to the referendum, when I spoke to friends who were planning to vote No, they tended to back up their position by saying that daylight saving made the afternoons too hot and the mornings too dark. When I spoke to friends who were planning to vote Yes, they tended to back up their position by saying that people who voted No were ignorant, stupid and/or retarded. In short, they had the modern progressive mindset that belittles the person rather than the position, under the assumption that their point of view is so obviously correct that only a fool or a dastard would oppose it.

Why were people so invested in something as trivial as daylight saving? I soon learnt that this referendum wasn't really about daylight saving at all. It was about class war. Daylight saving was most supported by the young, rich and clever... basically the people who rule society. Few have the power to say “no” to them, and as such they do not take kindly to being told that they can't have what they want, whether it be daylight saving, abortion or gay marriage. The potential for the old, poor and dumb to be allowed to contradict them is very limited, which makes them all the more indignant when it does happen. They hate the possibility that the people they consider beneath their notice might have the right to tell them what they may or may not do.

I really don't mind whether we have daylight saving or not, but, for the record, I voted No. Not because I care one way or the other, but because I knew it would annoy The Flatmate, who has been loudly denouncing No voters and their position for the last three months.


Anonymous Luke said...

Trouble in paradise...

7:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well written as usual, but I don't think you are right. If it was just the 'ruling classes' that wanted Daylight Saving, they would have had it. There was no need for a vote, the Government could have just legislated. The ruling classes have been able to get much more controversial matters through parliament, all they needed to do was hire a lobbyist! I think most people either didn't care or liked Daylight saving, but it wasn't a big deal. However, those who didn't like it, really didn't like it. So my theory is that many who liked it and those who didn't mind one way or the other, voted no because they knew people who really hated it. No class war. But if you did vote no just to upset The Flatmate - well that's an awesome reason! Jaymez

8:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had a further thought on this and also had a look at region and electoral results at Clearly the country areas voted no on about a 70% basis. But the metropolitan vote was 50/50. A closer look shows North Metro at 55% Yes, South Metro at 51% Yes and East Metro at 44% yes. So the wealthier metro regions look to have voted Yes versus the less wealthy regions with a No vote. A look at individual electorates shows say Armadale at just 41% Yes, and Nedlands at 55% yes. This demonstrates a possible 'poor' versus 'rich' difference in voting inclination. But it is interesting to look at typically aspiring, but not 'rich' electorates in the sprawling northern mortgage belt such as Joondalup, Hillarys, Ocean Reef, Kingsley and Mindarie. All achieved 55% or better Yes voters. It is well documented that people in higher socioeconomic areas score on average higher in IQ tests than those from lower. The lower socioeconomic areas include a larger percentage of bogans, rednecks, long term unemployed, teenage mums and so on. Therefore it is quite possible that they had less logical or well thought out reasons for voting no, than those who voted Yes, (on average). Or maybe they don't have demanding working lives and race home after work to mow the lawn, go to the beach, entertain friends, or take the kids out? So the lower socioeconomic people on average see no benefit in an extra hour of daylight at the end of the day. Of course most of those things couldn't be done in an extra hour of daylight before going to work! So I have amended my theory and I think it quite possible that those who voted no on average put less thought into their choice, or would not use an extra hour of sunlight at the end of the day for all those positive activities it allows. I don't really understand the Country 'No' vote but retirees don't need an extra hour of sunlight at the end of the working day because they don't work/ Old people go to bed early, so they voted no! And damn you Blandwagon for getting me thinking about this! Jaymez

1:50 AM  
Blogger TimT said...

What a great post, though the class war isn't between the rich and clever and the old and dumb, it's just between snobs and everyone else.

I was looking at some of the pro-daylight savings arguments on a lefty blog the other day. Some people there were seriously making the argument that daylight savings gives you 'an extra hour' or 'extra sunlight'. No, idiots, it doesn't give you anything extra. That stuff would have been there anyway. The earth's orbit around the sun continues just the same as it always has, in spit of daylight savings; and the amount of hours in the day are the same whether WA gets daylight savings or not. What kind of a person doesn't get this? Presumably, all those dumb 'Yes' to daylight savings folk who think they get extra hours...

10:23 AM  
Blogger TimT said...

I hate it personally, it fucks around with my sleeping patterns for no good reason whatsoever.

10:24 AM  
Blogger an9ie said...

Personally, since I find myself racing against the sunset as the days grow shorter, and I have to take a 20 minute walk through a dodgy area and a train station full of weirdos to get home, I like having a longer period of light at the end of the work day. So I voted Yes. It also means more time to complete outdoor chores rather than going, "Meh, it's too dark to do any gardening. Time to watch more TV!" :)

11:47 PM  

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