Saturday 3 December 2011

Are you H - A - P - P - Y?

In the past 48 hours keynesianliberal has passed another milestone and received its 2 000th "pagehit." This is an average of just over 30 "hits" a day, which is quite gratifying, but still nowhere near the "big time." I remain disappointed that I haven't been noticed or recommended by Libdemvoice but, even if readership is modest, feel a certain satisfaction in having my views on record, though, unlike Harold Wilson, I cant remember the time and date of when I said, or in my case, wrote, what.

I am proud to stand by my very first post, written before the 2010 election and pointing out that, as far as the UK is concerned, talk of a financial crisis is a Tory con to excuse and justify their ideological project to roll back the state. They have been very successful, both in their attack on our public services and in apparently persuading the majority of us that it is both necessary and inevitable.

The most viewed post continues to be "An airy fairy measure," now with over 800 "hits", though I suspect the "hitters" think it is about something other than its actual subject, the measurement of the UK's level of national happiness. As it happens, the results of the UK's first official survey on this, instigated by David Cameron, was published this week at a cost of £2m. Apparently, when asked how we feel about various things on a scale of 1 to 10 we come out with an average of 7.4.

Since I qualified in and earned my living through social sciences I cannot decry the value of such surveys, but I stick with the conviction that there are many more concrete measures of the overall health (and happiness) of our society: stability of marriages and partnerships, proportion of the population in prison, suicide rate, level of mental illness and depression, teenage pregnancies, unemployment rate and measure of equality (Gini coefficient), to name not a few.

An agreed index based on these could be used internationally, and also at the beginning and end of each government's period of office, to measure both comparative standards and real progress. As it is, we're left with vague allusions to Britain's good old Dunkirk spirit in the face of austerity. Comforting, but not really very useful.

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