Returning from a controversial fact-finding tour to the Kingdom of Bhutan, Councillor Ron Ronsson has announced that Harold’s council intend to put it on the happiness standard.
“I know some of you felt that it wasn’t right for a senior member of the council and his wife, his brother-in-law, his daughter and her partner to spend two weeks in Thimphu at the council’s expense but this was a necessary trip that will change Harold as we know it.”
“Since 1971 Bhutan has measured its success as a country not by GDP but by GNP – gross national happiness and has concentrated on the well-being of its people and the environment. It’s time Harold did the same.”
“Why can’t we have life-affirming mantras posted along the Dunstable Road? Why can’t we say that the wealth in this village isn’t in the buildings and the businesses but in the people? Why can’t cynics shut up and stop demanding a full public disclosure of the council’s accounts especially individual councillors’ expenses?”
Residents so far seem a little confused about having their happiness measured.
“It sounds nice and that,” said local businessman, Stephen Trawlerman. “But I’m telling you now if any bugger comes into my take-away and tries to pay for their chips with smiles not coins they will regret it.”
Semi-professional Paris Hilton look-a-like, Melanie Delaney, seemed more enthusiastic but also managed to entirely miss the point. “So this is like ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ for the austerity years, yeah? There’s no money so let’s pretend something else is better. You could do apps, posters, t-shirts. Gross Village Happiness could make someone tonnes of cash.”
Despite these and other reservations and confusions coming from residents, Councillor Ronsson remains unshakable in his belief that happiness is the way forward. “I’ve lived in Harold my whole life,”’ he said. “It makes me happy from the River Gluggle to The Queen’s Mound from the recreation ground to the Tesco Extra car park. This is my home.
This sceptred village,
this earth of majesty, this seat of the council,
this other member of the Dunstable Etc Mental Health Partnership Trust,
the fortress, built by Vikings for themselves, against anyone with brown eyes who doesn’t like whale meat, and the hand of war,
this happy breed of men, not forgetting the ladies or do I have to call them women now, this little world, this precious stone set by the silver river, which serves it in the office of a wall, unless you come by road;
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this Harold!”
The Gross Village Happiness index is expected to come into force early next month and villagers can be assured that happiness is not compulsory merely healthy and desirable.