Friday, 26 November 2010

A measure of wellbeing?

Sometimes the idiocy of those in power outweighs my intent to keep my politics to myself.
Either that, or it would be a shame to waste a good prompt for a poem...

A Measure of Wellbeing
Can you legislate for happiness,
performance manage hope,
set a target for wellbeing
to manipulate my soul?

Can you define what makes life worthy
from your Ivory Tory Tower,
with patronising tactics
to maintain your worthless power?

Don’t you see that being happy
isn’t in the hand of state?
That your smug desire to lift our hearts
might burnish them with hate.


Liz said...

I'm gonna have to check the BBC website to see what may have prompted this. Like you, I try to keep politics off the pages of the blog, despite my disgust for the dictatorship that is our (barely) elected govt.

Sharon Longworth said...

Sorry Liz - I should have realised that not everyone would know what this is about.

Basically our Government have decided to introduce a 'happiness index' - measuring our sense of wellbeing. Interestingly - economic wellbeing is not part of the index, so all the policies that are inflicting job cuts etc. won't have any impact on happiness (allegedly)- here's a release from the BBC:

David Cameron has said life cannot be "measured on a balance sheet" as he launched a countrywide consultation to assess the nation's happiness.

He said economic growth was vital, but the plans to study national well-being could "lead to government policy that is more focused... on all those things that make life worthwhile".

The Idiot Gardener said...

Nice poem, although I must admit to not agreeing with the overall sentiment. The whole "wellbeing without economy" thing is very well proven in many other cultures around the world. It's only in the so-called developed world that we would prefer out Governments to give us money (in one form or another) rather than contentment. Travelling the third world illustrates that, as a concept, it's quite an effective one.

caterpillar said...

wow...that's the first time I've heard about happiness index working without taking into consideration things like recession and job cuts...

Sharon Longworth said...

Mr IG - I think you're right about 'wellbeing without economy' - my main contention with the proposals is the suggestion that government can influence happiness much outside of economy - mine comes from family & friends, books, writing, where we live, the allotment etc. all of which are hardly affected by government policy (but perhaps that's also a point in that we are free to enjoy them at least, and I know that's not the same everywhere..)
But I also have to own up to a certain anger at some of the things the Gov't are currently doing - I see people losing their jobs and I know that is having a very immediate impact on their sense of wellbeing.

Charlie said...

1. Anything the Gov't tries to measure will, by Gov't's nature, be wrong.

2. I don't vote for politicians to nurture me; that's what mothers are for.

3. Who, in their right mind, will believe a "happiness index" with more than a grain of salt and using the newspaper for birdcage lining?

Robert the Skeptic said...

See, nobody in the US government would ever propose adopting a "Happiness Index" - that's why the Private Sector exists... to meet and exceed all our dreams; all we need is the desire and a credit card.

Fickle Cattle said...

How do you determine a happiness index? That's just silly.


Philip said...

I'm 100% with Charlie here. The govt can butt out of my private life. Pierre Proudhon had it about right:
To be governed is to be watched over, inspected, spied on, directed, legislated at, regulated, docketed, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, assessed, weighed, censored, ordered about, by men who have neither the right nor the knowledge nor the virtue.

Jane said...

I'm no longer in touch with what the govt. is up to in the UK anymore - have enough going on here in Ireland. Supposed to be going on the demo in Dublin today but it looks like we're snowed in.
This index sounds ridiculous and next thing you know they'll be taxing happiness!

mikebell said...

As long as people think that money will buy them happiness, then aren't they giving the Govt. some responsibility for their happiness?

As Richard Bach said "If your happiness depends on what somebody else does, I guess you do have a problem."

Caroline said...

Just be thankful that we live in a democratic country where we are allowed to disagree with the government! I agree with Philip though that there is way too much legislation about everything. The small village that I live in works perfectly well without government interference - everyone knows everyone and most services are done by way of bartering. No VAT on that!