The Third Leader: Happiness is...

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The Independent Online

Only a curmudgeon could fail to respond positively to someone who wants to make us happy, so blame it on the weather, the time of the week or because I've already impotently advised against the wisdom of such an ambition. Besides, how could one not warm to Mr David Cameron, a man who is almost hoarse with sincerity?

Indeed. So perhaps I should let pass the curiosity that someone who presumably wants to be happy himself should also want to be leader of the Conservative Party; or, for that matter, should want to wangle an invitation to mingle with Mr P Diddy and Sr Julio Iglesias at Mr and Mrs David Beckham's recent house party.

No, the important thing is his sentiment that "it's time we admitted that there's more to life than money", and his view that improving society's "sense of well-being" is "the central political challenge of our times". And there's certainly, as usual, nothing to argue with there, apart from "of our times".

It's just that his outlined prescriptions - encouragement rather than coercion, leading by example - remind me, especially given his uncannily similar manner and appearance, of Mr Jeffrey Fairbrother, who, many of you will remember, was the hapless entertainments manager at Maplin's Holiday Camp.

I hope, too, that his mention of the Protestant work ethic won't alienate other faith groups. Just in case, I recommend, for inclusion in future speeches, this piece of wisdom from the Buddhist master, Thich Nhat Hanh, which has a happily Cameronian ring: "Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy." Hi De Hi!