So I was reading about wee Bernie Ecclestone, head of Formula 1 and worth about £3 billion. Get your hankies out, girls, because it seems that this not-so-poor chap has never known happiness.
He doesn’t have any real friends; one of his wives left him because he preferred the office to holidays and he didn’t hang about at his daughter’s wedding to see how it is possible to spend a whopping £12 million on a party.
When I went to the Edinburgh School of Philosophy – believe me, it exists, and you would do yourself a favour to sign up – we often discussed happiness. Of course, it has nothing to do with money.
In one discussion the only happy wealthy person any of us could think of was Richard Branson. The rest of the ridiculously rich merely worry about not paying tax lest it go to the NHS or schools for those who can’t afford to send their children to Eton, and then join Bono for a Make Poverty History supper and bid £200,000 for a supper with Heston Blumenthal or some such nonsense. And there’s the problem of keeping an eye out for the spivs and con men trying to marry one’s daughters.
What do they know of walking up Corstorphine Hill with a spaniel on a clear morning, breathing in the fresh air and looking over one of the most fabulous cities in the world? That costs not a penny.
Rich people can’t relax because they don’t trust anyone to be a real friend; everyone has an agenda and no matter how much money they have it isn’t enough because someone else has more.
But, I reckon, there must be a tipping point. Something roughly between scrabbling in wheelie bins for leftovers to make supper and on the other hand stressing about where to berth one’s yacht.
In the end I have no idea, so excuse me while I go and find £2 down the back of the sofa to buy a EuroMillions ticket. If I win I’m going to buy an airline, grow a beard, and be happy.