Daily Archives: October 27, 2009

Gideon Rachman

Following Sarkozy’s happiness commission, the latest effort to come up with a broader measure of national well-being than mere GDP has been made by the London-based Legatum Institute. Legatum’s  ”Prosperity Index” sounds like it is weighted towards economics. But, in fact, the institute tries to take into account a great many factors in producing its national rankings, these include health, entrepeneurship, democractic governance etc. The Finns are apparently the best-off people in the world, according to this measure. Strange then, that they are so catatonic.  Maybe that is the secret of their success.

In the manner of these reports, Legatum tries to come up with ten “key findings”. These include “freedom cannot be divided”, “good governance is central to life satisfaction” and most sweeping of all, “History is not destiny.” Blimey. Who said it was? And what would it mean if history was destiny? 

Gideon Rachman

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Poor Tony Blair – sabotaged by his own countryman. Just weeks ago,Mr Blair looked like the frontrunner to be president of the European Union. But now William Hague, Britain’s shadow foreign secretary, has let the rest of Europe know that the opposition Conservative party would regard his appointment as a “hostile gesture”. Since the Tories and Mr Hague are likely to be in government by the middle of next year, after a British general election, their views have real weight. Charles Grant, head of the Centre for European Reform, a think-tank, says: “On my travels around Europe I have found that Hague’s comments have made a huge impact.” Mr Blair’s candidacy has been badly damaged.