It probably goes without saying that being happy is better than being unhappy. I also know from personal experience that, central to this, is feeling easy in your own skin. Moreover that this rubs off on others in very positive ways. If you don’t believe me try smiling at people and see the response that you get; beware though, it can be contagious. The same applies to groups and can spread to whole regions, possibly even countries. It’s well known, for example, that productivity used to rise in manufacturing centres when the local football club won the FA Cup.
Now, one of the reasons that I’m writing this today is that, although my personal circumstances get better as I get older, I feel that the country as a whole is not as happy a place as I’ve known it to be in the past. Given the austere times we’re living through, you would hardly expect otherwise. Add to this the further and more drastic cuts we’re promised and you would also hardly expect people to feel optimistic about the future. Could it be any different? Well, as the future hasn’t yet happened, of course it could. So how can we start this process?
Well, by trying to release and build on that vast amount of untapped talent that Jesse Norman, MP, wrote of in his book “The Big Society”, for a start. You could then delve into my own book, “The Real Big Society” for some very practical examples of how to do this, along with the results. You could also tackle some of the institutionalised barriers that stand in the way. Among which are, according to a recent report, that there are no women on the boards of the top 15 companies in the FTSE 100 list of the top such organisations. Could they really not have found just one? Really? You could also add to that the fact, again according to recent reports, 45 years after the Equal Pay Act was passed, on average women are paid 20% less than men for similar work. On what basis, one is tempted to ask; other that the fact that the former have internal reproductive organs whereas the latter have external ones? You will note here, how polite my language can be when I’m actually quite angry. Finally, I would refer you to an article by George Monbiot, in which he writes that, those with a private education are likely to receive more in pay than those from state schools for doing the same work. I write this, of course, on the day that the House of Lords votes on the scandal that are the cuts to Tax Credits.
In all of these pleadings, I hope that you will discern the common factors. These are building to people’s strengths, supporting them through bad times and creating a more level playing field. Hardly too much to ask, you would think, in the 21st century? Yet it could all be so different in that happier and better world.