Fake News | Happiness | Freedom

Everyone knows that April in the UK is renowned for its showers and fools. Less known, perhaps, is that it is also the month, in 1970, when Apollo 13 had to abort its manned mission to the moon as a result of the explosion of an on-board oxygen tank. The event was made (in)famous twenty five years later in the Golden Globe and Oscar-winning film featuring Tom Hanks, who played Jim Lovell, and the imaginative ground staff at mission control who masterminded a Heath Robinson-style recovery plan.

The film is particularly remembered for the calm, but concerned, statement by Commander Lovell which has been repeated at least a million times in earshot of the senior team at The Weekly -  "Houston, we have a problem." The thing is... the quote just isn't correct. Firstly, the actual statement was "OK, Houston, we've had a problem here." And secondly, it wasn't made by Lovell at all, but rather the last-minute replacement crew member, John (Jack) Swigert.
But who cares? What do a few misquotes here or there matter? Or, a few spelling mistakes? Or, a decimal point in the wrong place? Whoops, when I bid £100.0 million for that property, I really meant £10.00 million. But hey ho - it's only £90 million adrift! And, how much ‘modification’ to the truth can be tolerated before it becomes ‘fake’ news?  Or, when does a good-spirited 1st April prank go beyond the bounds of acceptability? Well, according to the Daily Telegraph, this should all cease to be a problem in the future as the Government is minded to abolish April Fools’ Day altogether ‘’on the grounds that the public can no longer tell the difference between reality and farce.’’ Hmmm!

Another largely unknown fact is that, in 2018, the office market in Lisbon saw the sharpest increase in investment volumes  in Europe - albeit from a low base.  Whilst Greater Lisbon’s population (2.94 million) and office market (4.2 million sq m) are comparatively small, the city is now attracting renewed interest from both occupiers and international investors. Prime office yields, which were 6.75% per annum in 2010, have now hardened to 4.50% per annum, but they still show a respectable spread over the 3-4% per annum commonly being achieved in other key European cities. And, it seems the sound of the market's death-rattle echoing around the prime CBD office district following the GFC has now been largely forgotten.

The Weekly understands that the Portuguese were expecting to receive an award for this achievement at MIPIM but the gong went to Warsaw instead. One very incensed Portuguese property agent is even reported to have thrown a glass of Mateus Rosé over the chairman of the voting panel in disgust! Ok, so this last paragraph is on the 'fake' news spectrum, but what the heck, it makes a good story!
What is true though is that, across Europe, at a time of economic and political uncertainty, only Lisbon (+282%), Warsaw (94%), Brussels (+40%), Dublin (+39%), Hamburg (+19%) and Frankfurt (+18%) recorded an uptick in investment volumes last year. Well done to them. They must all be feeling pretty happy with themselves.

Whilst on the topic of happiness, at a time when national tension seems to be high, it is uplifting to learn that the UK has been promoted from nineteenth to fifteenth spot in the 2019 edition of the UN's World Happiness League Table with an overall score of 7.054 (out of 10). Finland is again ranked Number 1 with a score of 7.769. It seems that amongst other attributes, the UK scores highly on generosity, social support and freedom.

On the morning of the EU referendum result on 24 June 2016, The Weekly was visited by an investor from China. He made a polite but forthright comment that he was shocked by the result and that the UK should never have polled the nation to resolve such an important issue. He added that it would never have been allowed to happen in China. No, of course it wouldn't. Nor would it have happened in the US or Japan. But there again, they are ranked 93rd, 19th and 58th respectively in the Happiness Index... noticeably below the UK. And, whilst it's brain-numbingly frustrating that our elected politicians have struggled to find common ground for our European exit, it is The Weekly’s view that we should, at least, be proud of the transparency (if not the content) of the debate and our unfettered freedom of speech. In part, maybe that is why we score so well when it comes to happiness.
Enjoy your Sunday and keep happy. You never know, if we can put one over the Aussies in the Ashes series later this summer, we may just be able to sneak up and capture their Number 11 spot! How happy would that make us all feel?