You might think that the government spending two million pounds of the public's money on finding out whether we are happy would make us all sad but you would be wrong. As that great sage and expert in tatifilariousness, Ken Dodd almost sang: happiness, happiness - the greatest gift that we possess. Pretty soon it might be the ONLY gift that we possess, Christmas pressies notwithstanding. We balance on the very lip of financial catastrophe and in answer to the official query "is everybody happy?", comes the surprising response "you bet your life we are". And if you didn't see that one coming, then you are not in touch with the nation's Zeitgeist.
I have always wanted to use that word in a sentence since reading it on every other line of the NME as a schoolboy. You remember: "Johnny Rotten has captured the spiky haired, nihilistic Zeitgeist", or "Joe Strummer is possessed of so much Zeitgeist, it is oozing out of his orifices", or "Free with next week's NME, a dictionary in which you can look up the word 'Zeitgeist'". But I digress.
A cynic (me) might suggest that the Drear Leader is spending two mill that we don't have on ascertaining our levels of ecstasy in order to massage the stats and bolster his image in our eyes. You must be satisfied with my performance, he would say - just look at these figures. But can it be that when we say "mustn't grumble", we actually mean that we have nothing to grumble about? If that's the case, allow me to proffer some possibilities.
Iceland's volcano chain is brewing up a big one. It will not be silent, it will be violent. When the one that stopped flights in Europe, Eijafawawollagingganggoolie exploded onto our spell checkers, what we did not understand at the time was that it was just the prelude, a burp preceding the mighty eruption that is overdue and will cause something similar to a nuclear winter to fall upon the whole globe. But that's OK, as by the time that whole lot goes up, we will probably be in an actual nuclear winter. Russia is arming its borders with pointy missiles of ill intent that are directed at America. Britain has stopped co-operating with the Red Bear on matters of intelligence, as it has reneged on the rules of the old game of I'll show you mine, if you show me yours. It also stands accused of trying out its cyber weaponry on a water supply plant in Springfield, Illinois - the town they are supposed to have based The Simpsons on. That is an attack on America's doughy, yellow heartland. It mirrors the script of a Bruce Willis blockbuster. The Russians must have just received Die Hard 4.0 on video and realised that the man with the vest is getting on a bit and has even allowed himself to be cuckolded by a doe-eyed drip called Ashton. The Red leader, Vlad The Insaner, would eat someone called Ashton for breakfast and use his bones as tooth picks. America is unprotected, they thought, let's try a dry run to see if we can run them dry. And they could.
So, we can add Russia to the list of nations that we shortly may be at war with. It's getting to be quite a long roll call. There's Iran, of course, Afghanistan (unless it all ends well for the allies' withdrawal, which it won't), Argentina wants a rematch, Syria looks likely and then there's Belgium, with their whole thing. I may have got that last one wrong.
In the world of finance, bankers are still awarding themselves footballer's salaries for a series of own goals that would get a centre forward sacked. The head of the British Bankers' Association said that they are no longer in big bonus territory and that they are only going to give themselves £4.2 billion this year, on top of their salaries. That rather implies that not only do they not get it, bankers are blissfully unaware that there is an "it" to get.
Jacques Delors recently popped up to say that we are totally screwed and that we should have listened to him at the start of the European adventure and said "although I don't like to say I told you so: I told you so, I told you so, I told you so." Meanwhile, Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England is doing an impression of Fraser from Dad's Army: "We're doomed!"
England has drawn France, Sweden and the home team in the group stages for Euro 2012, so that's that then. School teachers are going on strike, train drivers are never not on strike and we are headed back to how life was in the seventies, without the comedy hair and the loon pants. So again, what the Hell have we all got to be so happy about?
The answer it seems is twofold: cup-cakes and cocaine. The two types of sugar frosting. The nation says: they're grrreeeaaattt! One in ten bank notes has traces of cocaine on them. That's a lot of snow. You could ski on the mountain of white that this country gets through in a weekend. And when we come down, what do we seek? Little mounds of fancy iced sweetmeats. A nice lady in Reading who runs a cupcake facility was almost put out of business by the metaphorical queue that formed outside her shop after a promotion went wrong. It could have stretched to Mars. She thought she would be making a hundred extra, produced at a loss, to bring in some custom. One hundred thousand decorated dainties later and she still hadn't filled all her orders.
So that's it then. That's why we report that we are all so bloomin' happy. We're completely out of our minds on Class A's and confectionary.
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