By Ray Fleming

DAVID Cameron's “Great Britain” campaign to promote British achievement and the quality of the British way of life in the United States, which I wrote about in Looking Around recently, has suffered something of a setback with the publication this week of a comprehensive survey of those and other national attributes in ten other European countries. Comparisons of 16 factors considered to be key measurements of quality of life led to the conclusion that Britain is the worst place to live in Europe. Negative factors included lack of sunshine, a high retirement age and below average expenditure on health services; other considerations leading Britain to score badly in comparison with other countries were the high cost of living, especially food and diesel prices, and alcohol and cigarettes. Denmark, Poland, Sweden and Ireland were the countries holding the bottom places just above Britain.

Investigations of this kind are always controversial, in respect of the factors chosen as being of common importance in all countries -- the weather, for instance -- and in the methodology used in questioning. In this case France and Spain emerged as being the two best places to live in Europe, a conclusion that was reflected in a separate survey in which 12 per cent of Britons said they were considering emigration and named Spain and France as their first and second preferences for a new life.