Measure for Measure

I’ve had a few things I was flipping about in my brain so I have decided to try and link them together under the mantle of David Cameron’s proposed happiness index. This is the development of measures to ascertain our deepest joy generally, as well as under our new dear Condem government surely. The cost of developing these questions none of us are going to answer is approximately £2 million. I can say from the off, I am not overly happy about that for obvious reasons. Have you noticed how the government say we can’t afford most of this, but at the drop of a hat we can afford that.

Then there is the knotty problem of how to measure such a transient thing as happiness at all. Apparently Tony Blair had a little go at it when he was in charge, but gave up as it was too ephemeral to capture. Not to say expensive I’d guess. Notwithstanding that minor glitch, Dave has set the Office of National Statistics the task of consulting with you and me to find out what criteria we think happiness should be measured on.

What they’ve come up with is not very imaginative I can tell you (here if you care). Have you got a job, have you got cash, have you got an education, do you have any friends, are you healthy, do you recycle and how long do you think that might all carry on? It doesn’t take a genius to work out that what Dave is trying to measure is not actually happiness, but 21st century consumer satisfaction with life. He may as well come round and ask me how much I like my breakfast cereal (I don’t).

Your actual personal satisfaction gets lumped in with: (volunteering, caring). Their brackets not mine. That mean one category also includes anything that could be accused of being spiritually or personally enriching as it mentions art and kulcha. Whoah. Could it really be that in measuring our prosperity you can arrive at a measure of our happiness as if they were always intrinsically linked? Of course being poor does not guarantee happiness, but having loadsamoney doesn’t either.

Mr Cameron may have confused the purpose of our lives (which is, incidentally, to be happy according to the Dalai Lama and that’s good enough for me) with a money-making and production line existence. Fortunately for him, most people meekly morph into conformist consumers that the capitalist societies depend on; those who believe that if they get what they want they will be happy. Actually, I think a fulfilled life is a little more about getting what you need.

to be continued… otherwise it would not be a blog post, more a rant, and my mother is not keen on those!

Posted on November 29, 2010, in Be not idle, Poetry, Politics and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I don’t like my breakfast cereal either. I’m going to rebel and have an egg sandwich instead. Cameron can be such a dolt. Perhaps that makes him happy.

  2. Well-written rant; but not a rant, really, as I agree with every word.

    I have just shelled out a small fortune on Grapenuts in an endeavour to (a) recapture my childhood when they used to come in lovely cylindrical tins and (b) find a cereal I can tolerate.

  3. Well there is part two, so hold on to your grapenuts.

    I thought you were on the porridge.

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