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I agree with Cameron that we need to be paying more attention to the social side of life. That said, we need to ensure that people have the jobs and the income to pay for the aspects affecting General Well Being. I am not going to have a high level of General Well Being if I'm unemployed, for example...that would be especially so if I have children.

I just despair. Mr Cameron is beginning to sound like Princess Diana on speed. Do we really need to turn to the facile, hypocritical, drunken Kennedys for a view on our future?
It seems that anything is addressed but the truly troublesome issues that underly our society.
There is a deep-seated contempt for our politicians and, in logical consequence, for the authorities that they administer and this is a root cause of our society's scorn for all authority, leading to some rejectioning decent standards of behaviour. And why is this? Because it is seen that our politicians have handed over most of their responsibilities to Brussels, that they cannot legislate to meet the needs of this country and that they just wrangle and pose at Westminster whilst parasitically drawing benefits that their countrymen can only dream about.
As if that's not enough, unlimited immigration is straining society and causing tensions and contributing to the behaviour that Mr Cameron says wrings his withers. But can we discuss this? No. In a calculated 2-finger gesture of contempt to the indigenous population Mr Cameron (and others) refuse even to allow debate on this major problem.
Because of this intellectual sloth or cowardice and despite his social-worker pose, the electoral writing is on the wall for Mr Cameron. Unfortunately for him, he has his back to it and cannot turn aroound to read it.

I'm not sure where this will go, but I certainly think the debate it a great one to have. There are many things that contribute to peoples happiness and it should be something government hold as a central consideration in policy making and prioritisation. This is where Conservatives have a big edge over Labour, I firmly blieve a sense of belonging and common identidy contribute to general well-being. This is something Labour have done their best to destroy. This is only one facet, but an important one.

Read the speech before you comment, there is more to it than this quote.

John Coles, Cameron is talking about social issues that can make our daily lives misery.

If you are a regular user of public transport, how depressing is it to constantly travel in run-down, vandalised vehicles? How depressing is it to walk through your local park which is littered with the discarded drink bottles of underage drinkers, who as a result, may also harass innocent passers-by?

Unlike issues such as immigration and the EU, they are much closer to us and so have a far more profound effect on our sense of well-being.

While issues such as the EU and immigration are very important (and ones that have been recently discussed by Cameron), most people are not troubled by them directly or day in, day out.

"General well-being" is simply not measurable. The trouble with our society is that we want to measure. As a councillor I am constantly reminded of our obsession with "performance indicators" "targets" etc.

All we can do is to use our common sense to create a safe society with a safety net to prevent extreme poverty. Happiness and well-being are not the job of the state. They are the business of people who are free to choose how they achieve it.

We'd all be happier with a higher GDP (booming economy), more money to spend, more money to give to local charities, more opportunities etc. Mr Cameron, our General Well Being would be substantially improved if you substantially cut our taxes as prime minister, something you have yet to commit yourself to! And making people pay extra for flying won't improve our happiness one jot!

David Cameron is right to set his focus on social breakdown. We live in a society that is no longer at ease with itself. Young people are going out at the weekend not to enjoy a drink while socialising but the sole intention of become paralytic. Why are they seeking such self-destructive escapism? What is so dreadful about modern society that they want to be out-of-it through binge drinking? Why are families breaking down, children under ten turning to criminality, teenagers locked into cycles of self-harm, something is wrong. David Cameron has articulated the disharmony in our country with his concept of social breakdown and broken Britain.

"most people are not troubled by [the EU] directly day in, day out." Oh yes they are, it's just that "economical with the truth" MPs cover it up: Botched rail privatisation, HIPs, declining fish stocks, post office closures, vanishing Routemasters - all this and much more stem from implementation of EU directives and regulations...

Is nanny Cameron at work again?

Happiness and well-being are not the job of the state.

The state shouldn't provide business, but it should provide a framework where business can prosper. Equally, the state can't provide happiness, but it can provide a framework where happiness prospers.

For me, that is a framework where individuals have space to live their lives and follow their interests without undue fear (e.g. of disease, poverty or crime). Amongst other things, decent healthcare, education, business environment and law enforcement are all things that the state can provide and that directly affect happiness and well being.

I like how Cameron starts - he's right capitalism is great, so well done for pointing that out DC.

However the rest just sounds weird. General well being as he puts will only get better with more capitalism. It will only get better if our streets are safe so we need more police, it will only get better if streets look nice so lets reduce taxes so people have more money to buy homes rather than rent. The result will be to make them look after their streets.

I'm not a typical traditionalist tory by any means - I want more immigrants in our country and support gay marriage, abortion, legalisation of (at least) cannabis and euthanasia - but even to me Cameron sounds vague and 'wishy washy'.

I understand that the policy group report will talk about the 'darker side of wealth'. This makes me very angry. Here we have millionaires lecturing people about the so called darker side of wealth. People will not just be turned of by this but they'll also mock the conservatives for this.

Are they on a mission to make the conservatives look out of touch?

Cameron is right -- GDP is a poor measure of quality of life. Unfortunately, it's by far the best we have. All the alternatives amount to little more than hot air.

Furthermore, the question that DC needs to answer is: what sort of system does he believe is likely to lead to the greatest general well-being? If he believes that it is voluntary cooperation between individuals he is on the side of capitalism. If, on the other hand, he believes it is the government's role to improve well-being by increased regulation etc., then he is a socialist.

Capitalism was simply the application of Capital to the family unit of production and the transfer of (initially textile) production from the home to a factory.

All the time the mill-owner and the mill-worker understood themselves to be subject to God and to attend Church....the affluent attending The Church of England and the downtrodden and drunken increasingly attending the Methodist Chapel; others both Capitalist and Worker attended Baptist, Congregationalist, or any other Protestant groups until the arrival of Irish Catholics on the West Coast escaping the Irish Famine brought Catholicism back into the mainstream.

The point was that Christianity was the counterbalance to Capitalism and the ability to buy a bigger headstone did not change the fact that it was still the same earth they would be interred in and to the same God that they would answer as sinners all.

What we see today is Politicians grasping for some Secular Religion of Sentimentality to make people act in some kind of moral code acceptable to politicians who themselves are largely amoral.

It is not going to work - there was a great experiment on these lines called Communism which perfected New Soviet Man....he was an alcoholic with a very short life span and still is.

Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's......is basically applicable to in both directions. As Macmillan said, politicians should not preach morality......the real world is Hobbesian

Cameron is right -- GDP is a poor measure of quality of life.

Cameron should have done more Economics and less of the other options in PPE. GDP is simply the sum total of Incomes generated in an economy which equals the sum total of Outputs at market prices....it is an accounting identity, nothing more.

Why would anyone think an accounting identity said anything about spiritual or moral welfare unless that person was a Marxist who thought Man was an economic being without any moral or religious comprehension ?

If you are a regular user of public transport, how depressing is it to constantly travel in run-down, vandalised vehicles?

Where do you live ?

In my country we have private companies running buses, trains, and I know that they would buy the best vehicles possible because they are market-driven private companies. What is this public transport you speak of ? are you in Red China ?

Tom Tom:the downtrodden and drunken increasingly attending the Methodist Chapel

But not being let inside? Don't know where you found your 19th Century Methodists, but I thought most of them were avid teetotallers.

I'm rather depressed to see the HDR performance being spun the way it is. A quick look at the HDR office's trend figures show Britain's steady rise, while Mr Cameron's use of rankings suggests quality of life has fallen: http://hdr.undp.org/hdr2006/statistics/flash/statistics_trends.cfm

The difference between the top nations is so small that just 0.008 points separates the UK at 18th from the US at 8th. Most of the other nations ahead of us are small and/or homogeneous. If you take the HDR as a useful indicator, Britain's quality of life is excellent and rising. There's no justification at all for the description of it as "terrible".

As for happiness indices, this sort of junk science is constantly refuted by the actual fact of people moving from countries where they are "poor but happy" to countries where they are "rich but sad" - and they never move back, note. Unless you believe in Marxist false consciousness, the reality prevails.

As often, perhaps the best commentary on this sort of thing comes in cartoon form:


If that doesn't work, go to cartoonbank.com and search for cartoon 122479.

Cameron, Brown, Campbell, leaders of the entrenched ruling elite class all want a partyless political consensus, without the troublesome voting masses periodically upsetting the apple cart. They can and do so easily use the people's money to bribe the untermench to vote to keep them all in luxury and power. The state, as Cameron now indicates wants to relieve the citizen of his right to persue happiness, and have it provided by the state. Brown is not the only Stalinist, the entire apparatchic ruling elite, the Scottish Socialist Republicans and fellow travellers, like the old Judas goat, are leading us all down to perdition.

Whilst it is refreshing to hear a politican showing concern for well-being (DC should conscript Anthony Seldon, the Master of Wellington College who has introduced such classes), I think at this stage of the electoral cycle, as it were, voters would be much more immediately happy if he were to promise to reduce violent crime in the UK which, according to Home Office statistics, has quadrupled in Nulabour's stewardship of the country.

Tom Tom:the downtrodden and drunken increasingly attending the Methodist Chapel

But not being let inside? Don't know where you found your 19th Century Methodists, but I thought most of them were avid teetotallers.

Posted by: William Norton | September 10, 2007 at 15:36

but that was Wesley's Mission - to take the working classes for whom drink was the recreation and to bring them to chapel and towards self-discipline....it does not suggest they were teetotallers attracted to Methodism, nor that all Methodists succeeded in avoiding drink....it is merely that Wesley's Mission was not among the affluent middle class but amid the urbanised industrial poor

Cameron should stop acting like Mary Poppins and more like a proper Conservative.

People don't want to have every aspect of their lives dictated to from politicians. If adults wish to drink, gamble, play violent computer games etc. then let them and stop acting like a Soviet Union style control freak.

"In my country we have private companies running buses, trains, and I know that they would buy the best vehicles possible because they are market-driven private companies. What is this public transport you speak of ? are you in Red China?"

I am a student, I travel on trains and buses daily to get to my campus. Public Transport is travel in a vehicle which is not owned by you, and shared with others. Are you seriously saying you've never travelled on vandalised transport or been disturbed by inconsiderate youths? It is quite common, and as you seem to have blind confidence that private ownership solves every problem, I will assume you don't use public transport! Market forces cannot prevent incidents such as these, and my point was that they impact our general well-being when we are exposed to them day-after-day.


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