Monday, 27 June 2022


I’ve been having terrible, unsettling dreams. One was about some clients in Scotland not paying their bill so I’m on my way up there to kill them, another was about beating down a warehouse door to recover goods of mine being held by a company in administration and saying “it’s just an abrupt form of retention of title.” That sounds extreme but extreme describes the world in which we live. It also sounds old fashioned. It’s time we got a new scriptwriter.

Troubled Macron / Sad Macron | Know Your Meme

So, France is technically “ungouvernable” with Macron left straddled between the Far Right and the Far Left. Will he be able to achieve coalitions with Le Pen or Melenchon? I don’t think so. Like Johnson Macron seems bewilderingly to have lost his grip. But the difference is no one is calling Macron a “liar” merely “arrogant.” Still it’s an extreme crisis and a reminder of France in the 1970s.

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The storm in America is over the reversal of the Roe v. Wade ruling of 1973 by the US Supreme Court that protected a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion. The Republican v. Democrat antagonism grows more extreme by the day as is their dispute over gun laws yet I’m told that gun violence has killed at least 18,823 people in the US this year so far. 

Even in Norway (the 2nd happiest country in the world, for heaven’s sake) two were left dead and 14 were wounded in a gay nightclub shooting on Friday. 

Intriguingly in Colombia Gustavo Petro is the first left wing President to be elected there. More interestingly in his youth he was a member of the guerrilla group the 19th of April Movement.  And to add to the extreme excitement Francia Márquez is Colombia’s first black Vice President.

Colombia candidate Petro says 'human' campaign will carry him to victory |  Reuters

And I’m not even going to  talk about Putin, Ukraine and the global economic crisis. So, instead, let me talk about “Happiness.” Every year a Happiness Index is produced. It’s compiled by an Independent Organisation applying a long questionnaire which all the countries complete.

In the 2021 survey the top ten are:

1. Finland
2. Denmark
3. Norway
4. Iceland
5. Netherlands
6. Switzerland
7. Sweden
8. New Zealand
9. Canada
10. Australia  

What’s remarkable is the high ranking, in this and every year, of the four Scandinavian countries and the Netherlands.

Also remarkable is that 50% of the Prime Ministers of these “happy” countries are women.

Sanna Marin | Biography & Facts | Britannica

Finnish Prime Minister -Sanna Marin

Looking at them they have some remarkable economic success stories: Lego, Ikea, Nokia, Heineken, Lorna Jane, the All Blacks, Maluka Honey, Godiva, Lululemon Athletica, Rolex, 66 Degrees North.

Add these countries together and they’re sensible, hardworking, look after their poor, are peaceful, unobtrusive yet all of them punch above their weight. Most of their people speak accent-free perfect English. What an alliance the Northern Europeans would make and would have made if the Vikings rather than William of Normandy had conquered England in the 11th century. Another story, another time…..

Britain came 16th in the Happiness Index , by the way, ahead of France, Italy , Spain and the USA and with Rwanda third from bottom.

The impact of all this feel-good information makes me wonder why it is we, and so many countries like us, have such a wretched track record. No, we can’t blame the Tories for everything. But we can lament their woeful  performance.

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As Lord Chris Patten ex Conservative Party Chairman said:

“ They must lose the next election for their own good. This isn’t the Conservative Party it’s the English National Party.”

Unhappily he’s right.

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