Novelist. Author of APSARAS and tales from the beautiful Saigh Valley. First person to quantify spiritual values.

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Sunday 17 January 2010

Britain - the 25th best place to live in the world!

place to live in the world... behind Lithuania,
the Czech Republic and Hungary (according
to Peter Allen of the Daily Mail).
While France tops the poll for the fifth year
in row, the UK is associated with a dismal
climate, soaring crime rate and cost of living,
congested roads and overcrowded
Even former Communist countries where
unemployment is still rife are considered
better places to live. The Czech Republic
and Lithuania were not even accepted into
the EU until 2004!
Happiness to my mind is achieved when
life contains four essential elements. I add a
fifth as a luxury item because the four conditions
for a happy life could equally well
apply to a herd of elephants or a tribe of
1. The nuclear family in a home is the
basis of all civilized living.
2. Good neighbours.
3. Safety from physical and mental attack.
4. Access to food and water
5. Art and culture.
The list does not include climate because
to my mind, on its own it doesn't contribute
to happiness and in any case you can't
change it. Of course, sunshine makes one
feel better but if it was that important, ALL
the peoples of the world would be contained
within certain degrees of latitude, close to
the equator. Moreover, sunshine plays a
part in items 3 and 4 and remember for
some people who live in deserts, a good
downpour is worth having a party for. Inuits
can feel good if they have the five listed
above in good measure.
David Cameron has embarked on an
election campaign founded on the core
premise of 'Family, community and Country'.
It is no different than the categories listed
above and I believe it was also in one of
Barack Obama's election addresses.
Why is the UK, lagging in the happiness
stakes? Well let's look at each of the categories,
starting with family. The proliferation
of one parent families with teenage girls opting
to become pregnant is tolerated where
once it wasn't.
Getting married isn't necessarily the
answer, either. Divorce is easy and without
stigma. Couples don't have to try and make
a marriage work and they don't. They move
on to the next relationship. We therefore
have a generation of children being raised
without a father figure and often where there
is one it is inappropriate.
Sadly, much of the blame for the breakdown
of the core family is men and the single
biggest reason for their declining status
is lack of discipline. Single teenage girls do
not get pregnant on their own; its reckless
men, both young and those who should
know better. The biggest cause of divorce is
infidelity, accounting for 27% of all cases,
and predominantly this is down to the man.
Is it then any wonder that France leads the
poll when they have a stronger family ties.
That Spain doesn't figure higher than 17th is
due to other factors.
Secondly one needs good neighbours
who observe the same core values of harmonious
In days of old, people could leave their
doors unlocked when they popped next
door for a cup of sugar. Now, you won't find
people talking over their garden fences for
fear of being branded as “nosey”.
On television, recently, we have seen how
just one rogue family can plague the lives of
a community. One lady in the last year was
so upset by the treatment she received from
her neighbours and by the lack of interest
from the authorities that she took her own
life and that of her child. Life can't get more
miserable than this and yet the police still
don't treat ASBOs seriously.
Thirdly; one needs to feel safe from any
sort of attack, whether physical or mental.
Since the very dawn of mankind, humans
have had to fight hard to protect themselves
from each other and wild animals. Survival
instincts are built into our fabric. To ensure
that we sleep soundly in our beds we
employ locally the police and nationally the
armed forces to protect our borders.
The authorities are frightened of tackling
the terrorist threat because of fear of upsetting
minorities and losing important votes in
Labour seats. Outspoken and abusive
Jihadists walk our Green and Pleasant Land
with impunity. My father, a soldier in the second
world war and highly decorated would
spin in his grave.
Under both Tories and New Labour we
have seen the budget for the armed forces
reduced so that now we send the young
men and women to war without the necessary
equipment. If the police are guilty of
paying too much attention to political correctness,
then we must put the blame for
heavy losses in Iraq and Afghanistan at the
door of Tony Blair and the man who as
Chancellor starved the forces of money,
Gordon Brown. How can the nation feel
good when we see our brave troops coming
back to England in coffins?
Fourthly. The family must have a means
of obtaining food and water. By this, I mean
families must have a source of income, and
I do not include social handouts. The
Country should have a vibrant economy
with everyone who wishes in gainful
employment. Sadly Spain has a higher level
of unemployment than the UK which effects
almost every aspect of life. In the UK, the
level of unemployment would be much higher
if it wasn't for the huge numbers of people
employed in the public sector. The country
cannot afford them all. The burden of all
these workers is borne by the working public
in their taxes. Not only in their income tax
but the tax that masquerades as National
Insurance and their local and ludicrously
inflated Council Tax. People are working
longer hours to keep pace in a race that I feel they must ultimately lose. Only celebrities
and television folk can afford to live in
the UK with the politicians and high flying
town hall mandarins.
One can do without the latest toys, but it's
difficult to be happy when a family can't pay
the super inflated energy bills or run a family
Lastly, although strictly speaking it is not
an essential for contentedness, appreciation
of the arts can be the cherry on the
cake. It is the one luxury I would admit to
bringing fulfillment to life. Music, a good
book or a beautiful painting can bring great
joy, even in an otherwise drab existence.
A country that has good museums and
galleries cannot be a happiness desert. A
country that appreciates world class productions
of dance and opera must still retain a
culture worth saving.
A week ago, Pimco (the world's biggest
bond fund) announced that it will be a net
seller of British Government bonds this year,
raising further fears of a debt crisis at a time
when the Treasury needs to raise an
unprecedented £200billion in the international
capital markets to finance the burgeoning
national deficit.
The world will speak. What they will say is
that this labour Government like its predecessor
that had to be rescued by the IMF in
1976 has brought the country to its knees.
It's no wonder that the people of the United
Kingdom are dropping down the list of
happy countries.

Kevill Davies is author of 'Apsaras'. Available at most on line book shops.
Read more on his Indaloblog at

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