“I am delighted to hear that the people of Northern Ireland are the happiest in the United Kingdom”

Some good news!  [Peter Robinson will be pleased – Ed]  Possibly…  According to the Office of National Statistics’ analysis of experimental subjective well-being data from the Annual Population Survey, April to September 2011, the people of Northern Ireland are the happiest in the United Kingdom. 

In fact the, admittedly subjective, data reveals that the people of Northern Ireland had higher average ratings than the rest of the UK on the ‘life satisfaction’, ‘worthwhile’ and ‘happy yesterday’ questions (7.6, 7.8 and 7.5 out of 10 respectively) (Tables 3.3 and 3.4).

But the DUP’s Nigel Dodds may have regretted bringing up that subject during Prime Minister’s Question Time in the Commons today.  As the BBC reports, David Cameron had a ready riposte

Mr Cameron’s response prompted much laughter in the chamber, but it was hard to ascertain if there were any guffaws from the Northern Ireland contingent.

He said: “Well I am delighted to hear that the people of Northern Ireland are the happiest in the United Kingdom.

“I have to say to that honourable gentleman that their representatives in the house don’t always give that impression.”

ANYhoo… since the NI First Minister did bring up the subject of the economy and, specifically, Gross Value Added (GVA), it’s also worth pointing out that the same ONS analysis notes

When Gross Value Added (GVA) (the value of goods and services produced in an area) per person by country and region of residence is examined, England has the highest levels of GVA per person compared with the other countries of the UK. Within England, London has the highest level of GVA far exceeding other regions (Table 3.2). Of all regions and constituent UK countries Wales has the lowest GVA followed by Northern Ireland and North East England. [added emphasis]

We do, however, have the lowest unemployment rate of the constituent UK countries (7.2%).  But that’s bettered by the South West and South East of England (6.1% and 6.3% respectively) and by the East of England (7.0%).  And the second lowest life expectancy [of the constituent UK countries] for both men and women (77.1 and 81.5 years respectively)…

So, reasons to be cheerful, 1, 2, 3…

Adds Apparently, “the UK’s happiest person is probably a married Northern Irish woman who works part-time, is aged over 65, and has two or more children.” The Guardian’s Patrick Kingsley looks for someone matching the description.

As a Londoner, I am meant to be miserable. London residents scored a lowly 7.2 out of 10 in the government’s first wellbeing survey, making the capital the dourest place in the country. The happiest? Northern Ireland, grinning away with 7.6. The cheery sods.

Heh.

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  • Republic of Connaught

    A good quip by Cameron. He sure put grim faced Dodds in his place.

  • Greenflag

    Is it true that cameramen have to use a shatter proof lens when they take a picture or fill the dour faced Dobbs ? Chap seems to look like theres a either a maniacal Calvinist inside him trying to get out or somebody is always ‘moistening ‘ his Cheerios . Still a dacent man but he’ll never get an Oscar;)

    There are at least three reasons that the Northern Irish are the ‘happiest ‘ in the UK
    1) It’s the indomitable Irishry emerging triumphant despite all.
    2) They the NI folk don’t really know how bad the situation is or

    3) They also know that the English taxpayer is paying the tab and shure would’nt that make any NI man happy ?

    I guess there’ll be another survey after Mr Osborne’s upcoming budget and I wonder will the bould Nigel upspake in the matter of comparative happiness . Cameron’s a card I tell ye puttin down Doddser like that .

    .

  • Pete Baker

    Adds Apparently, “the UK’s happiest person is probably a married Northern Irish woman who works part-time, is aged over 65, and has two or more children.” The Guardian’s Patrick Kingsley looks for someone matching the description.

    As a Londoner, I am meant to be miserable. London residents scored a lowly 7.2 out of 10 in the government’s first wellbeing survey, making the capital the dourest place in the country. The happiest? Northern Ireland, grinning away with 7.6. The cheery sods.

    Heh.

  • socaire

    Imagine how much happier we would be if we could kick the UK and all it’s works and pomps out of our country once and for all!

  • BluesJazz

    The photograph sources-
    ‘County Coleraine in Northern Ireland, where Margery Thompson lives. Photograph: Alamy’

    I presume this to be County Londonderry. trust the Guardian to get the geography wrong.
    Gregory Campbell is the exception to the rule then?

  • http://WindowsIDHotmail madraj55

    Connaught. Nigel sure is a cure for the effects of ether. He must have had a face on him like a bag of heemmers after Cameron’s riposte, oh wait….doesn’t he ever?

  • The Raven

    BlueJazz – County Coleraine is (most of) the area’s original name. If the wans in Derry City weren’t so precious, the good burghers of the original County Town would be happy to end the debate over the name of at least that particular territorial construct.

    …which is actually County Londonderry. As any fule kno. ;-)

  • Harry Flashman

    “…which is actually County Londonderry. As any fule kno.”

    Of course it is, counties being an entirely English creation. County Coleraine was renamed for the nice new city the English built in the largely uninhabited island of Doire, which was in turn named by the builders after their sponsors back in the capital.

    Loved Cameron’s riposte to Dodds, sharp as a razor.

  • Greenflag

    @ socaire ,

    ‘Imagine how much happier we would be if we could kick the UK and all it’s works and pomps out of our country once and for all!’

    No need to imagine just follow the well being methodology and do the numbers . Taking the unionist minded folks as 53% of the population and the nationalist minded as 47% then in the case of a UK bye bye the disappointment felt by unionists would reduce the well being factor of 7.6 to 4.03 ( 7.6 x 0.53) . But then the elation felt by the nationalists would increase the well being factor of 4.03 by 47% thus increasing it to 5.92 (4.03 x 1.47) leading to an overall reduction in well being from 7.6 to 5.9 or a factor drop of 1.7 which in percentage terms would be a drop in average well being of 22 % .

    The overall well being factor is however not impacted by which group gets to be elated or disappointed first . Thus if nationalists are elated first then the average well being factor
    would increase from 7.6 to 11.17 ( 7.6 x 1.47) but then the disappointment felt by unionists would reduce the overall well being factor to 5.9 ( 11.17 x 0.53)

    Thus the case for a well being increase if said UK and all its works were kicked out is disproved and in fact an overall drop of 22% in the well being factor is found instead . As a nationalist I find this result to be disappointing but one must look on the bright side . Based on the above numbers there is enough ammunition here sorry perhaps statistical data would be better to empower the NI bi powerality to demand from Mr Osborne an increase of 22% in the annual subvention to head off any drop in well being that might be felt in Northern Ireland as a result of belt tightening among the fat cats of London and the City ;)

  • Greenflag

    As I re read that piece above my well being factor of 9.87 has taken a dive to 9.43 :( and I’m reminded of the two inebriated Russians sitting in a cafe in Leningrad in 1929 ( formerly St Petersburg pre 1917) and now again St Petersburg (since 1991)

    Ivan to comrade Vladamir :

    ‘ Remind me what was the alcohol percentage in vodka before the Revolution ?

    Vladamir : 4%

    Ivan : ‘And what is it now ?’

    Vladamir : 4.2%

    Ivan : ‘ Well was it worth it comrade ‘?

  • Reader

    socaire: Imagine how much happier we would be if we could kick the UK and all it’s works and pomps out of our country once and for all!
    Well, if the nationalist population is oppressed and miserable, yet Northern Ireland is the happiest place in the UK, then the unionist population en masse need to be quietly ecstatic to make up the numbers.
    And I thought it was just me.

  • Coll Ciotach

    They must have some miserable sods in Britain

  • socaire

    I suppose it is a bit unfair to ask them to let go. It’s a bit like telling a generous and well meaning old aunt to stuff her Christmas postal orders where the sun don’t shine. I mean – they are well meaning and didn’t they hold the ring for 40 years to stop us savages from slaughtering and eating each other.

  • Greenflag

    A Northern Ireland Unionist walked in off the street into a house of ill repute known as the Wellness Centre and down a corridor to the end where he saw two doors . On one door was written ‘For Jaffas ‘ and on the other was written ‘For Taigs’ ‘ Unhesitatingly he went through the Jaffa door and again found two more doors . On one door was written ‘ British Rule Forever ‘ and on the other one was written ‘British Rule Forever Maybe ” so again he unhesitatingly went through the ‘British Rule Forever’ door and found himself confronted now by three doors .On the one door was written ‘For Unionists ‘ on the other was written ‘For Nationalists’ and on the third door was written ‘For Republicans ‘ . Without a moments hesitation the man pushed in the door marked ‘For Unionists ‘ and found himself back on the street again.

    Meanwhile in an alternative universe.

    A Northern Ireland Nationalist walked in off the street into a house of ill repute known as the Wellness Centre and down a corridor to the end where he saw two doors . On one door was written ‘For Jaffas ‘ and on the other was written ‘For Taigs’ ‘ Unhesitatingly he went through the Taig door and again found two more doors . On one door was written ‘United Ireland Now ‘ and on the other one was written ‘United Ireland Maybe Later ‘’ so he unhesitatingly went through the ‘United Ireland Now ‘ door and found himself confronted now by three doors .On the one door was written ‘For Unionists ‘ on the other was written ‘For Nationalists’ and on the third door was written ‘For Republicans ‘ . Without a moments hesitation the man pushed in the door marked ‘For Nationalists ‘‘ and found himself back on the street again.

  • Greenflag

    One for the road .

    A top level delegation of Wellness and Well Being Consultants and Statisticians and Survey people went to Northern Ireland on the basis of recent findings which indicated that NI folks were happier than they ought to be . The visit concurred with the opening of a new annex at a local NI Asylum for the Mentally Challenged (we don’t use Insane anymore for fear of causing offense) . Local politicians had also gathered for the photo op along with a chorus of inmates who began singing the now popular hit tune ‘Oh it’s Great to Live in Northern Ireland and not London or anywhere else and especially not Dublin ‘

    The Chairman of the Wellness delegation sudenly noticed that one man was not singing along with the rest .

    ‘Why are’nt you participating then ?” the chairman asked ‘

    The man answered : ” I’m not crazy , I’m a psychiatrist “

  • Politico68

    I think the ‘Irish’ running through the vains of most Norn Iron people reults in that general feeling of happiness ;-)

  • Red Lion

    Politico

    Surely its the unique British/Irish planter/native combination of genes in most Norn Irn people that makes us all so at one with the world, and each other
    ;)