Plastic Fish and Buddhist Values

Plastic Fish and Buddhist Values


Alastair Campbell on alternative values and happiness-based policy:

John Prescott once gave Tony Blair a gift of a plastic fish which, if you pressed it, would sing ‘don’t worry, be happy’ to the former Prime Minister.

I thought of that as I read the views on the economic crisis of a Prime Minister with the wonderful name of Jigme Thinley.

‘Greed, insatiable human greed,’ he cites as the reason for current global woes. ‘What we need is change. We need to think gross national happiness.’ GNH not GNP. Interesting.

Mr Thinley is PM of the tiny Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan, up in the Himalayas somewhere between India and China. Hard to compete with them economically, I guess.

Happiness has long been a measure of life in Bhutan, but they now have a new constitution which insists any policy proposal must be judged in part by the happiness it produces…

Now, who do you think he has in mind when he says:

…I still don’t do God, and I am not going all Buddhist on you, but it is worth thinking about.

Possible for Britain? Would the Daily Mail co-operate? =)

I certainly think if we were to go for a G.N.H plan in Britain, there would have to be changes in the media. Quite a lot of the TV two-ways telling us we’re all about to go broke or die of swine flu would have to be reviewed by the GNH Commission. Of course there could be no room for the Daily Mail in a country interested in happiness. So bye-bye Mr Dacre. Sorry, as the Evening Standard adverts say.

Talking of which – as the worst aspects of the Standard’s negativity happened when Dacre was bossing former editor Veronica Wadley, I look forward to the ‘Sorry’ campaign from the Mail. They could start with an apology for the role they played in fuelling a frenzy about MMR. ‘Sorry for giving you measles – the Daily Mail’. Let’s see that one on the tube.

Anyway, I slept better thank you, so my own contribution to GNH is up. I am getting some good tips too from the two very nice women who have been organising my Lisbon media schedule as I promote Os Anos Blair. Fair to say they find my obsessive punctuality a bit, well, British. Why stress myself out worrying about keeping a few journos waiting? It’s so not GNH.

They’ve even been quoting poetry at me as I remind them we are running late … Fernando Pessoa ‘oh what a pleasure it is to have something to do and not do it.’

Or take a chill pill, as my daughter sometimes says. I bet they have chill pills in Bhutan. I bet Fernando Pessoa is on the curriculum.



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