The secret of happiness

Dundee United Image copyright PA

I am, in the normal run of things, a fairly cheery chap.

With Dundee United performing as they are, why would I not present a positive countenance to the world? What's not to like?

However, one can always be surpassed in optimism. Take Willie Rennie, he of the Liberal Democrats, for example.

His idea of fun is carrying a sack of coal up a hill. (Titter ye not, he was runner-up in the Scottish coal-carrying championships, held in Kelty.)

And yet he is relentlessly, gloriously happy. Even as he attempts to scythe down Alex Salmond at question time, he smiles, beatifically.

I suppose it comes from being a Liberal Democrat in today's Scotland.

In the wake of 2011, the options were: hide in a cupboard and cry; chortle and grin. Mr Rennie opted without hesitation for the latter.

So it is perhaps no surprise to learn the underlying approach which Mr Rennie hopes will inform his party's conference, due in Aberdeen at the weekend.

Stand by for the Sunshine Strategy.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Willie Rennie has been known to carry a sack of coal up a hill for fun

Get out of that cupboard, he has told his chums. Cease that endless gnashing of teeth.

Now there is more to this than offering the world a cheery face. This is Pleasure with a Purpose.

Apparently, Mr Rennie feels that his fellow supporters of the Union - Tory and Labour - sounded just a mite curmudgeonly at their recent party gatherings. Just a touch.

He is advising his colleagues that, in the referendum debate, they should contrive to sound more positive.

Be happy

No more suggesting that the advent of independence would be accompanied by flood, pestilence and a surfeit of midgies in Skye.

Rather, accentuate the positive. Sound gloriously content about the Union - or, rather, the reformed version suggested by the Lib Dems en route to federalism.

Don't worry, be happy.

PS: There is still time to submit questions for my webcast interview with Mr Rennie at the conference. If you have something to ask Mr Rennie, email

Please put "webchat questions" in the message field of your email.

Don't forget to add a happy face at the end.