Jack McConnell slams Labour dismissal of ‘happiness poll’


Former First Minister Jack McConnell’s criticism of the Labour Party for their dismissal of the ONS Happiness Index findings has been described as a “wake-up call” by an SNP MSP.

ONS figures published on Tuesday revealed that life satisfaction and well-being levels are higher in Scotland than in England and Wales.

Speaking in the Scottish Sunday Express today, Lord McConnell hit out at Shadow Cabinet Office Minister Michael Dugher MP after he dismissed the Measuring National Wellbeing Programme as “a statement-of-the-bleeding-obvious and a waste of taxpayers’ money”.

The former Labour leader in Scotland described Labour’s response as “ignorant”, “shocking” and asked if this was the type of Labour Party that Johann Lamont and Ed Miliband want to lead.

Commenting on Lord McConnell’s analysis, Dr Alasdair Allan, for SNP MSP Na h-Eileanan an Iar, which is the happiest area in the UK, said:

“Lord McConnell is a respected former First Minister and his criticism of the party he used to lead should be a serious wake-up call to Johann Lamont and to Ed Miliband.

“Labour is stuck in a perennial negative rut and struggle to make a constructive point about anything really these days. It is little wonder that the people of Scotland have rejected them.

“Nobody is suggesting that the ONS Happiness and Well-being figures are a totally scientific guide, but to write them off is foolish and it is naïve.”

On the figures themselves, Dr Allan added;

“The Western Isles have a real magic ingredient – that’s not to say that there aren’t issues – but the strength in community and the distinct local culture certainly helps.

“The SNP Government is dedicated to improving people’s well-being through our commitments to free personal care, caring for carers, tackling child poverty and fuel poverty and freezing council tax.

“The people of Scotland have benefited from free prescriptions, the implementation of a living wage where government has responsibility, our commitment to free higher education, enhancing childcare provision to be the best in the UK.

“In comparison, the UK Tory Government has increased tuition fees, helped the super-rich with tax cuts, while hitting vulnerable people through unfair cuts such as withdrawing disability living allowance.”