Please don’t smile as you read this – particularly if you’re a Luton resident.
After being branded a ‘crap town’ by author Sam Jordison in 2004, this corner of Bedfordshire has been the butt of countless cruel jibes.
Now our much maligned town has suffered further humiliation – it’s been rated one of the least happy places to live in the country.
Two years on from David Cameron’s announcement that the government would measure national well-being, research published by the New Economics Foundation provides the first in-depth analysis of nirvana across the UK.
Its findings – taken from Wellbeing Patterns Uncovered, the largest national wellbeing survey in the world – draws on 160,000 responses to the Office for National Statistics.
And if these are to be believed, the sad citizens of Luton have the lowest wellbeing in the UK, alongside those from London and Reading.
Apparently Highlanders and Islanders enjoy the highest.
Wellbeing – according to the Oxford Dictionary online – means “the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy.” So should we abandon our uneasy, sick and miserable existence in this depressing spot and emigrate, en masse, Up North?
Or is it time we kicked our ‘crap town’ image into touch and celebrated all the good things about our vibrant, multicultural community?
Luton South MP Gavin Shuker is all for the latter.
He said: “When I tell my colleagues I was born in Luton, it’s with pride, not embarrassment.
“Luton has everything going for it except its reputation. So let’s come together and lose that ‘Crap Town’ image!”
Award-winning businessman Mohammed Nadeem agreed. He said: “This is the happiest place on the planet. It’s so diverse and multicultural.
“In spite of the economic climate, everyone’s smiling.
“And when I drive under the bridge at Bury Park, I always feel I’ve come home.”
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