Tara Hamilton-Miller: Happiness is a well run campaign

The Prime Minister is concerned about how jolly we are and has asked the Office of National Statistics to include happiness in a household survey.

Tara Hamilton-Miller
Tara Hamilton-Miller

BBC Breakfast received 11,000 texts from viewers who unbelievably had the time to stop feeding the kids/ironing a shirt to consider their position from one to ten. Presumably, 'zero' being weeping in a corner unhappy and 'ten' being whooping with joy, high-fiving the postman, happy.

The result was 5.3, which on the mood scale was 'moderately happy'. Most UK citizens would never admit overwhelming cheer; compare our game show contestants and sports fans to those in the US. Even if you are cock-a-hoop, to show it would be a little gauche.

David Cameron, who was on the 'cloud nine tour' seducing China with Anya Hindmarch handbags and pointy shoes, is keen to wipe the sulk off our miserable faces. This is not new for him. Back in 2006, he stood in front of a rainbow stage set at Party Conference and advised us to 'let the sun shine in'. We have Dunkirk spirit, not to be confused with happiness.

Can a brand make you happy? It is all relative, of course, but businesses should take it seriously. How a product makes you feel is important. We are nearing the time of year when budgets are blown to capture images of happiness. The M&S ads are a yearly offering of images of happiness, well-known national treasures dancing in their frocks, leaping around in frilly pants.

In the Apple Store in New York, I watched children who had saved for an iPod beaming as they queued up to pay. Some savvy techy ones were filming each other holding up an iPad. I couldn't decide if it was ghastly consumerism gone mad or strangely moving.

Last week, I met an elderly war veteran, covered in medals, carrying a poppy wreath past Millbank Tower. He was going to pay his respect to the war dead. As he shuffled through the broken glass and remnants of the previous day's student riot, he stared at the mess and said: 'I saw my good friends blown to pieces; young people don't know the meaning of a tough time.' Most of us have no right to be miserable.

- Tara Hamilton-Miller is a political adviser and formerly worked for the Conservative Party press team.

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