North of the border, the Scottish Executive supports an organisation called the Centre for Confidence and Well-being which aims to make Scotland 15 per cent more optimistic within ten years. “Optimism is a major component of happiness and I think it’s the part that we can most immediately see is missing from Scottish life,” says the centre founder, Carol Craig.
Maybe the students can march around singing “Always look on the Bright Side of Life” from Monty Python’s “The Life of Brian.”
It is a vision shared by Richard Layard, who has been pressing the government to employ another 10,000 fully trained psychotherapists. His book Happiness: lessons from a new science is the bible of Britain’s new utilitarians – a sweeping manifesto for well-being, arguing for policies that would lower consumer spending, reduce mobility of labour and restrict growth – heretical talk, one imagines, inside the Treasury.
Just what we needed. Another scientific excuse for totalitarianism.