Friday, February 25, 2011
British government wants to measure people's happiness
So it can "help"
Hundreds of thousands of people will be asked whether they think the lives they lead are “worthwhile” as part of David Cameron’s plan to measure the nation’s wellbeing.
Government researchers will begin questioning the first 200,000 over-16s across Britain from April to assess how satisfied they are with their lives on a scale of 0 to 10, and how anxious or happy they feel.
Further research is expected to focus on detailed areas that affect individuals’ perceptions of their own happiness, such as the state of their marriage, friendships and personal health.
The initiative has a budget of £2 million a year with the first four questions in the initial survey of 200,000 people costing £500,000 to conduct, according to the Office for National Statistics, which is running the scheme.
The Prime Minister believes the state can have a role in helping citizens “feel better” and has argued that successful governments should improve the quality of life as well as the strength of the economy.
His programme to develop Britain’s first “wellbeing index” follows a similar initiative in France, announced by President Nicolas Sarkozy.
The ONS drew heavily on the recommendations of the French commission when drafting the first questions to be used to measure “subjective wellbeing” in this country.
Initially, four new questions will be included in the ONS’s integrated household survey from April. Respondents will be asked to give answers on a scale of 0 to 10 to the following questions:
· Overall, how satisfied are you with your life nowadays?
· Overall, how happy did you feel yesterday?
· Overall, how anxious did you feel yesterday?
· Overall, to what extent do you feel the things you do in your life are worthwhile?
Paul Allin, head of the wellbeing project at the ONS, said he was confident the questions would produce robust results and that any bias in the answers would be ironed out across such a large sample. “We essentially trust people to give us the answers they give us and we will work what they say,” he said.
Ultimately, the project aims to create a set of results against which the changing health of the nation’s feelings about itself can be measured. Officials also want to enable comparisons to be made between Britain and other countries and will be working with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Mr Allin said: “Subjective wellbeing is one approach to understanding and measuring the wellbeing of the nation. While we want to produce consistent results over time, we will initially regard the results as experimental. There is more work to be done.”
In developing the new questions, the ONS commissioned further research into subjective wellbeing. It found that life satisfaction in Britain had failed to keep pace with rising household income and GDP over the past 40 years.
Other findings from the report, which reviewed a wide range of existing research, suggested that women are generally more satisfied with their lives than men and young people are happier than the middle-aged.
Married people are happier than those who are unmarried and it is more important to “keep up with the Joneses” and match the income of your peer group than to have objectively high rates of pay.
However, the study also suggested that it is possible to be too happy. Excessively happy people can be “gullible” and make “careless” decisions. The optimum level of happiness is to be at seven or eight out of 10, the research said.
The Catastrophic Failure of European Multiculturalism
Europe's leaders have realized, and are acknowledging one after another, that that continent's multiculturalist policy--the idea that geographic areas could be ceded to immigrants from Islamic countries who would treat them as Islamic enclaves, rather than being encouraged to assimilate--has been a disastrous failure. CBN has a good report on the current status of multiculturalism in Europe. It begins:
France has some 751 "No Go" zones. The French government has labeled these areas "sensitive urban zones" that are dangerous for whites and non-Muslims to enter.
CBN's video begins with the story of a French shopkeeper who has refused to leave her home inside a no go zone:
In a northern district of Paris, a brave shopkeeper named Marie-Neige Sardin guards her newsstand like a military fort. As a white woman, she is a minority in the mostly Arab-speaking Muslim area.
Sardin has been the victim of dozens of crimes -- raped, robbed, and having acid thrown at her, as other residents try to get her to leave.
Still, Sardin -- the daughter of a French soldier -- calls her little shop "a piece of French soil inside occupied territory," and says she will not leave.
Oklahoma Police Captain Faces Disciplinary Action for Refusing to Attend Islamic Event
The Tulsa Police Deptartment is investigating a captain who refused an order to assign officers to attend an upcoming Islamic event because he said it would violate his religious beliefs.
Capt. Paul Fields was reassigned after he refused to order officers under his command to attend the Islamic Center of Tulsa’s Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, a spokesman for the department said. “It is my opinion and that of my legal counsel that forcing me to enter a Mosque when it is not directly related to a police call for service is a violation of my Civil Rights,” Fields wrote in an internal police department memo obtained by Fox News.
“I have no problem with officers attending on a voluntary basis; however, I take exception to requiring officers to attend this event,” Fields wrote in an e-mail to his superior officer obtained by Fox News. “I believe this directive to be an unlawful order, as it is in direct conflict with my personal religious convictions.”
Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan told FOX23-TV the event was about community relations, not religion. “This was not religious,” he said. “I would never assign a police officer to participate in religious service,” he told the TV station. “This is about a group who bonded together because of their religion. We are not going there because they are Islamic. We are going there because they are Tulsa citizens.”
However, according to a promotional flyer, the Islamic event included not just food and entertainment, but “presentations” on “beliefs, human rights, and women.” They would also be able to watch a Muslim prayer service and take a tour of the mosque. “It’s up to you,” the flyer stated.
Ibrahim Hooper, the spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, called the incident an example of “anti-Muslim bigotry.”
Gary Allison, a professor at the University of Tulsa College of Law, said the case poses a dilemma. “It is true that individuals have their own religious beliefs and that they come to their workplace with their own religious beliefs,” Allison said. “The question is, how far can an employer go to require people to go against their religious beliefs for something to do the job that they are supposed to do?”
Australia: Muslims lose one
No cash to fund privacy curtains for female-only pool classes. How come nobody is asking the local mosque to fund this? Why should it be a bite on the taxpayer? Do we fund everything Muslims want?
THE State Government has refused a council's bid to help fund $45,000 curtains at a public pool so Muslim women can have privacy during female-only exercise classes. There were calls yesterday for the City of Monash to dump the controversial plan amid claims it promoted segregation and was a waste of ratepayers' money.
Monash Council confirmed the Victorian Multicultural Commission had knocked back a grant application to fund half the curtains' cost. Two weeks ago, the Herald Sun revealed that VCAT had given the green light for Monash to bypass equality laws and run the fortnightly women-only sessions.
Monash Mayor Greg Male said yesterday that the council still wanted to introduce the program, but it would have to pass the budget review process.
But Ratepayers Victoria president Jack Davis called on the council to scrap the plan, given the VMC's decision to reject the grant application. "They have made a wise decision - it only leads to segregation and we don't need that in Australia," Mr Davis said.
A spokeswoman for Multicultural Affairs Minister Nick Kotsiras said Monash had received a $1 million grant for a separate program and the VMC encouraged the council to re-apply for the privacy screen grant next time.