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Leading article: The key to happiness is blindingly obvious – get a job outdoors


When David Cameron first announced a National Well-Being Survey, critics said its premise was "woolly and impractical".

Many will now complain that its results are a £2m statement of the blindingly obvious. Londoners are the grumpiest people in the UK. The Welsh are the most miserable nation and the Northern Irish the most satisfied. Asians are happier than blacks, and Arabs are our most anxious residents.

The answer to the question on what the Government can do to "really improve lives" was always evident: make people healthier and give them work. The Office for National Statistics data did reveal, however, that the happiest of all live in rural idylls working outdoors. This doesn't mean office work or city life causes individual unhappiness. But the finding ought, perhaps, to prompt more people seriously to consider farming, landscape gardening or tree surgery when mulling a career.