If you’re happy and you know it, and you really want to show it, clasp your spork

May 3rd, 2007

From the Telegraph:

All schoolchildren should have “happiness” lessons up to the age of 18 to combat growing levels of depression, according to a senior Government adviser.

Pupils should study subjects such as how to manage feelings, attitudes to work and money, channelling negative emotions and even how to take a critical view of the media, said Lord Richard Layard, a Labour peer and professor of economics at the London School of Economics.

In a speech last night, he said that Tony Blair’s Respect programme – the crackdown on young offenders and problem families – was “far more repressive than preventative” and may be fuelling levels of depression.

[How very true – mm]

He said all state school pupils should receive tuition in “how to be happy” up to the age of 18 and their progress in the subject should feature in university applications.


The proposal comes only days after the Government said that lessons in manners – including respect for the elderly and how to say “please” and “thank you” – should be taught in secondary schools to combat bad behaviour.

[In SECONDARY schools!!! This is so basic a four year old should already know thsi to be right – mm]

Lord Layard, the director of the wellbeing programme at the LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance, said: “Learning hard things takes an enormous amount of practise. To play the violin well takes 10,000 hours of practise. How can we expect people to learn to be happy without massive amounts of practise and repetition?

[Lest we forget happiness is quite unrelated to spontaneity and wonder – mm]

“I believe it can only be done by the schools. Parents of course are crucial. But if we want to change the culture, the main organised institutions we have under social control are the schools.”

[my emphasis and you know the implications – mm]


Classes should cover managing your feelings; loving and serving others; appreciating beauty; sex, love and parenting; work and money; a critical approach to media; political participation; and philosophy, he said.

[Classes should cover not complaining, obeying orders, surface pleasures, base pleasures, generating tax revenues, distrusting criticism, co-option into the Statist framework and speculation – mm]


However, happiness lessons have been criticised by academics. Frank Furedi, a sociology professor at Kent University and author of Therapy Culture, said: “In pushing emotional literacy, what some teachers are really doing is abandoning teaching. They are giving up and talking about emotions instead, so that children value all this non-discipline-led activity more than maths, English or science. What is amazing about this is that time and time again, research says that it does not work.”

[i.e. the politician has no idea what he is talking about and should keep his ‘happiness classes’ to his own family – mm]

And while we’re on happiness:

“Are you a happy man?
Certainly! Do I look happy, huh?
Because I live the type of life I do.
What type of life is that?
The type that you don’t.”

yvind Fahlstrm: Mao-Hope March

And some Fahlstrm mp3s at ubu

One Response to “If you’re happy and you know it, and you really want to show it, clasp your spork”

  1. irdial Says:

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