Toff's looney index


The latest salvo fired by this emerging toff/green alliance is today’s publication of the Tory’s Quality of Life Report, produced by billionaire environmentalist Zac Goldsmith and Thatcherite oddity John Gummer, fondly remembered by many for trying to force feed his daughter poisonous beefburgers in the 80s.

They report to Lord Snooty Cameron that something called the “Happy Planet Index” rather than GDP should be used to measure our wellbeing.

Well what a spiffing idea that is chaps. How utterly, utterly brilliant and completely sane and rational. Under this genius measurement of our happiness Iran scores 53 and the USA 28!

While an oppressive regime with a legal system based on medievalist superstitions might be an attractive style of government to landowning toffs and their new environmentalist friends – after all one form of right wing authoritarianism is pretty much the same as another – it may not suit the majority of us quite so well.

Indeed The Bristol Blogger could possibly not be too happy banged up indefinitely in an Iranian prison – alongside trade unionists, communists, socialists, anarchists, feminists, queers, prostitutes, drug users, aldulterers or anyone else vaguely normal – with only a public execution to look forward too.

But hell. There’s more to this wellbeing lark than silly old freedom of expression isn’t there?

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7 Responses to Toff's looney index

  1. Tim Beadle says:

    “The Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) is a new measure of the economic well-being of the nation from 1950 to present. It broadens the conventional accounting framework to include the economic contributions of the family and community realms, and of the natural habitat, along with conventionally measured economic production.”

  2. BristleKRS says:

    I’m not sure I’d want to be in an American prison any more than an Iranian one!

    My trusty FT World Desk Reference (5th edition, 2003) gives the stats as:

    Population: 71.4 million
    Gaoled: 158,000

    United States
    Population: 281.4 million
    Gaoled: 2 million

    That’s 1 in 452 against 1 in 141… (The UK figures compare as 1 in 803).

    However, the stats on executions do swing the other way – in 2006, Iranian judicial killings (177) accounted for 11% of the world total, compared with 3% for the US (53). (Source: Amnesty International via Death Penalty Information Center)

    I think it’s safe to say I don’t really fancy either though 😉

  3. What the Tories (and other parties) need to learn is that there is more to being green than environmentalism. Real greens integrate ecological concerns with social and economic ones.

    Tory ‘environmentalism’ is hardly convincing or coherent – just look at the record of the councils they run. Its consumer capitalism first for Tories and always will be in practice, whatever they say.

    Economic growth, international economic competitiveness and enthusiastic committment to global ‘free’ trade are hardly environmentalist or green committments.

    If you want green politics look at the real thing – the Green Party itself.

  4. Robert Ham says:

    This actually sounds like some good sense, even if it is from the somewhat distasteful Cameron. Since when is the volume of production by workers (ie, GDP) a measure of their wellbeing? It isn’t, and never has been. I don’t know exactly what the “Happy Planet Index” is, but I’d much rather my happiness was judged by how happy I am, rather than how much money my work makes for the ruling corporatocracy.

    There’s a flawed assumption in this posting. It does not propose anything about *how* we achieve wellbeing; only how we measure our success in achieving wellbeing. The proposal is to use a more useful guide to become more like Iran in one particular way, not in all ways, or in fact any other way at all.

    The proposal is that we should be able to say “we are British, and we are happier than Iranians.” The proposal is not that we should say “we are like Iranians.” The proposal certainly isn’t that we change the British legal system so that it obeys Sharia law. I can imagine that would have a quite negative impact on the wellbeing of Britons. That it has a positive impact on the wellbeing of Iranians in general, is a testament to the fact that we are very different peoples.

    I also note that in your list of normal people likely to be incarcerated in Iran, you include prostitutes and drug users. Both of these are likely to be incarcerated in Britain as well as Iran.

    More generally, in Britain we are not free. We only think we are. If you find yourself disputing this, Mr Blogger, ask yourself the following question: if you are free, why can’t you post under your real name?

  5. Its certainly right, as Robert Ham says, to measure wellbeing rather than growth in money flow (GDP), to indicate progress in society.

    In fact I have a petition on the PMs website calling for the Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare to replace GDP as the key indicator of progress . Its gained a respectable 166 signatures to date.

    The big problem with the Conservative ‘green’ pronouncements is that they are flatly contradicted by others eg see John Redwood’s report for David Cameron on tax, business, economic competitiveness, regulations and so on. On top of this they are contradicted by what Conservative run organisations around the country do and how Cameron himself behaves (cycling to parliament followed by his car!).

  6. builder says:

    I just love it when someone tells me if I am happy, poor or an idiot based on reports

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