‘This is very disappointing news,’ said Prime Minister David Cameron. ‘We had recently seen a small rise in the nation’s happiness. Now this. It’s really put a downer on things.’
A spokesperson for Moody’s said: ‘While the UK saw a 1.2% increase in happiness, this was due entirely to unusual factors such as the Olympics, the Queen’s Jubilee and the conviction of Chris Huhne. However much the British public claims to be OK, our analysts believe it conceals a much deeper level of emotional deficit.’
The decision to downgrade was immediately reflected in the markets with a number of bankers throwing themselves out of windows. This cheered the nation back up again, but only represents a short-term solution.
Historically, whenever the nation’s mood dips the Bank of England re-inflates society by using its supply of solid and dependable emotional currency, the English Reserve. However, it now transpires that the Reserve was secretly sold off by Gordon Brown in 2008, leaving the UK with what experts describe as ‘a dangerously quivering stiff upper lip’.
Mr Cameron may now attempt to boost the nation’s happiness by injecting billions of fake smiles into society, a policy known as ‘quantitative cheesing’. However, while cheesing may work in the short term, over time it simply devalues the smile as a unit of emotional exchange. ‘We could end up with emotional stagflation,’ warned psychologist Dr Raj Persaud, ‘a terrible situation where everyone walks round with an inane grin on their face, but they are all crying inside.’
Meanwhile, Number 10’s Behavioural Insights Team has been brainstorming policies to help cheer up the nation. Current proposals include forcing everyone to whistle a happy tune, free fluffy kittens and the public beheading of George Osborne.
If the situation worsens Mr Cameron may be forced to take the ultimate sanction and send in the clowns. The last time this happened was during The Winter of Malcontent when the depressed lay uncollected in the streets while emergency clowns drove round in collapsing cars honking their horns. ‘Nobody wants to see the clowns on our streets again,’ said Mr Cameron. ‘It’s bad enough already with Boris Johnson.’