Happiness is . . . a generous agreement

From Mr Walter Campbell, Manhattan Beach, CA, US

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Sir, Martin Wolf (“What happens after a Yes vote will shock the Scots”, September 13) writes that the Scots will be worse off if they vote to leave the union. His analysis accords with most others I have seen and is no doubt correct. However, we live in irrational times, and the Scots may vote to make themselves worse off anyway. This depresses me.

But then I see Stephen Cave writing that the best advice he found in various books on the subject of happiness is to “find someone worse off than yourself, help them, and then you will feel better” (“In pursuit of happiness”, Life & Arts, September 13).

It seems possible, then, that if today’s vote is Yes and the Scots render themselves worse off, the remaining UK might respond with an unexpectedly generous separation agreement (no public debt, oil royalties beyond the dreams of avarice, unobstructed borders, a splendid rent on the submarine base, currency as you like it). The more generous the agreement, the more help delivered to the worse off, the better the feeling and the greater the happiness for the giver.

Mr Walter Campbell, Manhattan Beach, CA, US

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