'Buckingham Palace isn't ours. It's just a tied cottage.' Prince Philip

First published in News by

The raggle taggle collection of non-entities called The Government is asking the Office of National Statistics to produce a measure to gauge Britain's national mood. The timing will be critical. The run up to Christmas may be a dangerous time to ask. There are those unhampered by good taste and with excess cash to waste on tawdry baubles and Chinese tat who will embrace the season, as will those whose only chance of being kissed is at the annual facilities departmental party. The rest may be burdened by a sense of religiosity, which can be a nuisance at any time but particularly inconvenient when there are over-priced computer games of a murderous nature to be bought and played, or simply feeling sad or lonely and not much impressed by the fantasy of Christmas as played out on television screens. All that bonhomie and ex-X Factor 'stars' will be too much to bear, plus the ever present fear of the sudden appearance of Cliff Richard.

Presumably the National Statisticians will be asking us to clap appropriately to reflect our level of happiness. Having missed the boat during the announcement of the royal engagement, when the media was in jolly mode, I would advise that they hold out until nearer the actual wedding before erecting their clapometer. My career in recruitment qualifies me to predict that William and history, having established a vacancy, have neatly filled the post with the perfect candidate. The job description required a combination of stability and glamour, someone well-informed about the perks of the job but mindful of the responsibilities, someone able to keep her mouth shut when all about her were opening theirs and who is there for the long haul. But above all my confidence in Catherine lies in my belief that the job, any job, should go to the person who most wants it. She has had years to study the job description and to gauge those she will have to work with. It is said she had her eye on the post when still a schoolgirl, never a bad thing, and at 28 she has been putting in work experience. Whether she will ever learn to wear a hat without the need to fiddle and whether the couple's happiness will make us a happy nation are moot points. We can only wish them all the best and remember amongst all the fuss and furore over frocks and hats that the theme of any wedding is a marriage. I shall clap for them.

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