Hacks Go Head-to-Head on Happiness Index

Two Scots journalists go head-to-head in the current issue of The Royal Bank of Scotland’s glossy customer magazine – Sense – on the subject of… happiness.

Fiona Gibson, who, among other things, chronicles her family life in the Sunday Herald, and Bill Jamieson, executive editor and columnist at The Scotsman, both consider a 'happiness index' being considered by the Office of National Statistics.

Says Gibson, job satisfaction counts for lots, when it comes to happiness. She writes: “I wasn’t at my happiest when I was earning more than I do now. I was burnt out and frequently wailing at the kitchen table.”

She continues: “The happiness index will, I hope, help us to focus on what really matters – and how we can lose, really? If it turns out that we’re a dissatisfied lot, we can start to figure out what needs to happen.

“Plus, being terribly nosy, I’m eager to know which is the most miserable town in Britain. Unless, of course, it turns out to be mine. Come to think of it, the corner shop lady just gave me a pretty sour look.”

Meanwhile, Jamieson retorts: “Accurately measuring a country’s economic output, or gross domestic product, is something that’s internationally comparable and of value for policy-making and action.

“A happiness index is a gimmick, distracting attention from a measure of tangible progress – or lack of it. Growth, investment and employment are what really matters – and not least because these really are vital components of well-being.”