All I see is a collective misery - since Covid, which is the used excuse catalyst, I feel as if I rarely see my fellow countryfolk smile and the most recent ‘National Happiness’ index, produced by a gaggle of Canadian economists in their recent ‘world happiness report’ bears this out.

Coming in, surprisingly, at 17th out of 146 listed countries, it makes me wonder how sad folk must be in countries such as Zimbabwe, Lebanon and Afghanistan (the bottom three). 

China makes the 26th spot beating luminaries such as Singapore in 27th and Spain in 29th, which, having been to both places numerous times, leaves me wondering if the report is based on fact or local perception as everyone likes to make out their lot is a bit ‘edgier’ than the average bear, don’t they?

With GDP per capita of £33,000 in 2022, which seems a strange benchmark for happiness when we seem to be suffering the fallout of rampant inflation as supermarkets, in it together, treble the prices of some essentials, we do score well on ‘social support’.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Brett Ellis suggests happiness is all about perceptionBrett Ellis suggests happiness is all about perception

Freedom is also highly ranked but surely it's comparative and again, about perception. 

We supposedly have freedom or did, but now the mildest of utterances that could be deemed ‘offensive’ or may cause ‘harassment, alarm or distress’ are on the rise as the police continue to look for easy wins as they bash themselves with the PC stick on one hand and a copy of the McPherson report in the other.

If the index counts nepotism and the old boys club, which I doubt it does, then we would be on the podium. Want a job in the city or the law? You will need a leg up from one of daddy's Chumley Warners. Forty-three per cent of the UK’s top 100 most influential broadcasters and journos were privately educated, as opposed to 7% nationally.

And finally, we have ‘dystopia’ meaning ‘bad place’ which, arguably, most of us are in, bar the super-rich, as we struggle to afford the bare essentials despite governing party rhetoric as to how it’s not that bad really, is it? 

I’m sure the one thing they are finding harder to avoid by the month, a general election, will wake them up as the clock ticks on their ability and aptitude to sort the bloody mess out before we kick them out.

Or maybe I am just a miserable sod, I don’t know, but to me, the weather should be used as a barometer. 

We are happiest when in foreign climes as we swan about in shorts and shades, feeling the gentle sea breeze wafting through your bald patch, and think of home with a sigh and look wistfully toward the number one, Finland, and wonder what they have, that we have not.

  • Brett Ellis is a teacher.