Worse Than Cheap Cynicism

Bluebells making an appearance

Making an appearance

Back on the road for a 30 mile loop, taking in Woodcote, Goring and Upper Basildon. Reasonably lumpy by my standards and it felt like hard work today. The change in the weather they’d promised has arrived – it was much colder and there was a strong north-westerly blowing; strong enough to have me peddling downhill to hit a speed in the mid-20s when on a better day I can freewheel down it and top 30 without any trouble. Dispiriting.

Perhaps they’ve been coming through for a little while but today was the first day that I noticed bluebells in the woodlands and hedgerows. Perhaps it’s because of the way they seem to appear from nowhere, last for just a brief spell and then effectively disappear again that bluebells have something special about them. Perhaps it’s just me.

Today saw the launch of ‘Action for Happiness’, an attempt to get people to focus on the activities that are pretty well proven to promote happiness. I can see nothing wrong with that. I found the negativity on the part of the public commentators – the journalists, the comedians, the people writing in to comment on the newspaper forums and so on – interesting.

If you compare all the negative comments with the stated aims of and reasoning behind ‘Action for Happiness’ – and it’s all there on the website – then perhaps the biggest lesson to draw from the response isn’t the obvious one – that cynicism is predictable, easy and cheap. No, I suspect the biggest lesson is how poor the quality of the intellect of the people with a public voice seems to be. None of the criticisms I heard stood up against the aims and reasoning behind the scheme. Full stop. The critics were, simply, wrong and they had no excuse to be wrong.

And, given how sought-after happiness is and how we all only have one life to live in which to seek it, surely being wrong about such an important thing, when you have every opportunity not to be, and when you’re in the public eye and with a public voice, is cruel and irresponsible.