Leader: Comical Cameron's having a laugh at our expense

IF THE business of government is happiness, we can surely look forward to wholesale cabinet changes every other week. That may not quite be the definition of happiness David Cameron has in mind - but it will be close to many people's definition when they ponder the latest GDP numbers due today.

The problem with happiness is it is not always a quality governments would wish to encourage. What of the deep pleasure enjoyed when the rich and powerful are humbled - that tingling uplift from schadenfreude? Rupert Murdoch's encounter with a shaving foam pie may have shocked MPs but did millions of YouTube viewers keep hitting the replay button?

And not all prime ministers can communicate a concern for happiness with conviction. Chancellor George Osborne might regard unhappiness as a proxy measure of success in his deficit-cutting ambitions. Or there's Gordon Brown, whose demeanour did not exactly radiate happiness to voters Happiness - spontaneous, subjective, capricious, elusive - cannot be manufactured by government. If Mr Cameron wants to conjure up happiness to lift the national mood he can always appoint an official government jester. There's certainly no lack of talent from which to choose.