Tuesday 12 April 2011


Happiness is in the news again, with the launch of Action for Happiness and renewed debate about whether the government should concern itself with how happy we are (as if they could improve matters). This all seems pretty sound stuff - indeed anyone who's given the subject of happiness a moment's thought will have reached similar conclusions. It is indeed the 'wisdom of the ages' - but, in our particular age, it can't be taken seriously until it's validated by 'a significant body of research' and elevated into a 'new science of happiness'. Here's a contribution to the debate from one of our leading thinkers.


  1. This is much better, Nige. I like to think I've encouraged you to explore these new yet profound areas of modern philosophy.

    Now would you like me to increase you happiness with my tickling stick, missus?

  2. I visited a genuinely inspirational example of something happiness-building here in NZ - a community hub that Barnardos has opened in a deprived suburb of Wellington, where the local people all get together, learn to grow and cook their own food, gift some of their produce to the local old folks' homes etc. The difference it's made on the community is amazing, and the number of people signed up to it is ever increasing too. I don't know if the UK is doing things like this but it should be!

  3. Happiness, happiness, the greatest gift that I possess
    I thank the Lord I've been blessed
    With more than my share of happiness

    To me this world is a wonderful place
    And I'm the luckiest human in the whole human race
    I've got no silver and I've got no gold
    But I've got happiness in my soul...

    All together now, starting with Nige...


  4. Thanks Stan - we've just had a rousing NigeCorp singalong and feel much better - nay happier - for it.
    And Kate, that kind of thing is a really good idea - I think there have been one or two stabs at it in Blighty, tho no doubt done in the teeth of council obstruction, Elf n Safety and Euro-regulatn...

  5. Kate - there was a great centre for a number of years at Bromley by Bow. It was built around a doctors' surgery initially, but developed into a church, huge community garden, and much more besides - another up in Yorkshire called the Wishing Well (was it really called that?)developed around a couple of terraced houses. That was a lovely place with coal fire people snuggled round when they dropped by to bake bread, or whatever else! There were many such places in England during the years of flourishing Arts and Health projects. But I'm out of touch with all that now, so not sure how many have floundered. I hope they're still thriving.

  6. I guess you cld call it the Big Society? Plenty of that in your home town, Tricia! (see Community Fayre)