A Return of the Three-day Week in Britain?

Back in 2014, on the 40th anniversary of the start of the Three-Day Week in Britain, I wrote this:

I wonder how many of you are old enough to remember the “Three Day Week”? I am. In fact I remember sitting my 11+ examination right in the middle of the period (from January to March 1974) in which electricity supplies across the UK were restricted to three days per week. Although it meant reading books by candlelight, it wasn’t as bad as it may sound to younger readers because we didn’t have that many electrical gadgets in those days and at least our house was heated by coal, not electricity. I dread to think what would happen nowadays if we should experience  problems with fuel supplied similar to those caused by the Oil Crisis of 1974. But such an event is not altogether impossible…

In the Dark, 4th January 2014

Not impossible at all given recent news. It seems even the Daily Torygraph agrees. Moreover, a senior Conservative politician has described such talk as “alarmist and misguided“, which convinces me that it is indeed likely to happen. My social media feeds are filled with pictures of queues of cars caused by people panic-buying petrol. Makes a change from toilet roll I suppose…

There is a concern here in the civilized world that problems with supply chains caused by Brexit may impact Ireland. Though there is no sign of this yet, it is of course possible, but only if people here continue to disrespect UK sovereignty by insisting on buying British products. The message must get through that the UK simply does not want the trade surplus it has enjoyed with Ireland for many years so it would be impolite to let it persist. Fortunately the shops are now displaying a much wider range of European products so this should not be a problem. I find it easy to manage using predominantly local Irish suppliers, apart from wine and some speciality products which are mainly imported from EU countries.

P.S. There’s an article in the Newcastle Evening Chronicle about the original Three-Day Week, which brought back a lot of memories. I remember the newspapers had lists of which areas would lose electricity at what time : candles and paraffin lamps suddenly became fashionable; and of course we had quite a few days off school!

One Response to “A Return of the Three-day Week in Britain?”

  1. The 1974 problems were not limited to the UK. I remember cycling on the motorway in the Netherlands, free for all as car travel was limited to emergency only (amazing how many emergencies there were).

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