How happy are we?

A recent survey attempted to establish how happy Britain is. It was called the ‘National Well-being Programme’ and it showed regional differences in how contented people perceive themselves to be. For me this is no surprise. While the traditional approach to well-being is an individualistic one (atomistic, to use the technical term, as opposed to holistic), we need to look beyond such a narrow approach. The emphasis on happiness, rather than the broader concept of well-being, is indicative of such an individualistic approach. If, instead, we were to understand well-being in more holistic, sociological terms, it would be quite apparent why there would be significant regional differences, no doubt rooted in the sociological differences we have known to exist across regions for quite some time now. I am therefore left wondering how meaningful it is to explore individual happiness without giving giving much fuller consideration to the sociological factors involved.


Unequal cuts

The Fawcett Society has pointed out that the coalition Government’s cuts in the UK have disproportionately affected women. So, as well as this policy being a significant backward step in terms of developing public services, we can now see it as a backward step in terms of gender equality. Visit the Fawcett Society website to find out about their campaigns for gender equality:

Recording ethnicity on death certificates

Scotland has become the first country in the UK to record ethnicity on death certificates. So, what difference might that make? Well, in the longer term, it means that information will be available about health conditions, causes of death and so on in relation to different ethnic groups. This can be a very useful dataset when it comes to identifying inequalities in health, and it is to be hoped that this approach will be adopted more widely in due course.