Will the light dawn?

From today’s Tellytubbygraph; the ‘how come this is news item’ that Government campaigns to make everyone ‘happy’ actually have the opposite effect. Rather like those parodies of American Summer Camps where over enthusiastic camp hosts with their over the top happy clappy routines drive the kids crazy. Rather like a theatrical production, which all run on the razor edge of a disaster curve anyway. Some people like having their ‘happiness’ packaged up and delivered like pizza, some don’t. Particularly if it’s the pizza someone else wanted you to have, not the one you ordered.

Such top down attempts of making people ‘happy’ are doomed to fail. The psychodynamics are too complex, and the ‘one size fits all’ approach beloved of overweening states are doomed to failure. There is too much (Excuse me while I pause for an ironic snort of laughter) diversity. Newsflash! A lot of people actually like doing different things.

Totalitarian states, with a huge slave client population can please a lot of people most of the time because the population don’t know any better, but even there dissent will fester because there will always be an excluded element who think that the great leader is a greasy fat pillock with all the charm of a spitting cobra on amphetamines.

Here’s my experience. Making everyone ‘happy’ in any given household is an impossible task. Think of trying to please everyone like having a house full of teenagers (horrified shudder). Put on a big noisy event (Oo, I don’t know, you could call it the ‘Olympics’ or some such) and give them lots of cake, and apart from having to have the place redecorated / rebuilt they will, for a given value of happy, actually experience ‘happiness’ for a while. The cake might get consumed (possibly in a food fight) or just thrown in the bin, and someone will inevitably smuggle in some booze to ‘loosen things up’ (Usually female knicker elastic) and let the chaos begin. The fallout of hangovers, unexplained pregnancies, unresolvable blood feuds, broken fixtures and fittings, and still soggy condoms found in the oddest of places a year later will provide the grown ups with endless topics of conversation. Yet will the kids be happy? No. They’re happier when they can take a DIY approach to their own pleasures. Grown ups just get in the way, even if they are the ones to pick up the pieces. This is the downside of power and authority; responsibility.

Better not to try, hide the valuables, let the teens sort themselves out in a barn down a remote garden. Let them take care of their own entertainment, sort out their own supplies and get on with it. The fallout will still be the same, and the official ‘happiness’ index won’t move an iota, but at least the grown ups will have the satisfaction of knowing they can do their own thing while the kids are pleasing themselves. Apart from the inevitable panicky phone call from a friend saying your offspring have passed out and need rescue at 3am. Been there, done that.

Will the UK Government realise that you can’t please all of the people all of the time? Will they understand that getting the economy right is more important than bread and circuses? Or is the real power so far out of their hands that behavioural modification, bread and circuses is all they have left? Take your pick.

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