Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 18 August 2016


What makes you happy? TV adverts suggest that we cannot be happy unless driving the latest 4X4 which can send and receive texts while you drive and park itself. It is also essential that you drench yourself in "Allure" or "Epic" some such other over-priced perfume/after shave in order to attract your mate's affections. We will all be miserable of course without the latest smart phone which can take our pulse whilst opening and closing the curtains.

Meanwhile back in the real world, endless happiness surveys home in on 3 key issues: reasonable health, very good close personal relationships and believing in a cause bigger than yourself. If you can tick these boxes you will almost certainly be happy.

The opposite is often true: constant ill-health can job us of joy, and fractured close relationships cause dejection. It is hard to raise a smile from people who only think about themselves and never lift their heads above their own horizons.

For most being happy is a major life goal. Baffling then that we scarcely talk about the ingredients that can lead us down that golden path or teach these values at school.

There is more tuition now about eating healthily and taking reasonable care to look after the body we were born with; perhaps it is time to take this even further.

What about personal relationships and a cause bigger than ourselves? Are these subjects ever properly aired? We might not be able to teach someone how to identify and fall in love with their soul-mate, but there are principles involved in maintaining strong relationships that can be learned. School, when hormones are flying around, might not be the best place to teach such things, but at some stage in our early years, we would all benefit from hearing from others about the secret to maintain close relationships.

Finally a cause bigger than ourselves. How many of us have this? For some it is our personal faith – the ability to lift our sights and discover that we are part of a wondrous creation. If I thought that this material world was all there was I would be gloomy indeed.

For others it is campaigning for nuclear disarmament, saving the environment or even Manchester United.

This summer is a good time for a piece of self-examination. How do you score in the happiness stakes? Which one of these do we lack? What are we going to do about it?

posted by Gary @ 08:29