MIDWAY:Let’s try smiling more

It made for a somewhat unsettling sight in the French capital on Monday morning — during designer Stella McCartney’s show at Paris fashion week it seemed the models stalking down the catwalk were actually smiling. Now, the smile is of course a highly unusual sight in fashion. Last year a Gucci advert featuring a loonishly grinning model was so unprecedented as to appear entirely baffling, but in recent years the smile appears to have disappeared in other quarters of society too, predominantly replaced by a moody pout.

But in these dark times, perhaps a little more smiling is precisely what we need? Isn’t it time someone — oh, the government perhaps — launched a campaign to turn that frown upside down? Really this new smile policy should begin at immigration, where officers could abandon their previous stance of po-facery and instead grin warmly to welcome visitors or returning citizens. Meanwhile, on all coins and all bank notes, the image of the Queen should be made to look considerably merrier.

After all, these are days of economic hardship— a fact of which no one needs to be reminded when actually in possession of any cash, so why not make our currency look just a little more optimistic? Indeed, the smaller the denomination, the more jolly the Queen ought to look — so you might have only a penny to your name, but at least her majesty is smiling upon you. Naturally, the same goes for stamps.

Our celebrities need to buck up of course. That Victoria Beckham for one. Grazia magazine recently reported that Mrs Beckham had been practising a gentle semi-smile but, Victoria, this is no time for subtlety. Simon Cowell should also tone down the crocodile snarl and Gordon Ramsay should go easy on the cussing, maybe work in some kind of thumbs aloft lop-sided grin.

Elsewhere, Mike Leigh must be ordered to keep up the tone he adopted for Happy Go Lucky. The British TV soap EastEnders will be cancelled. The message we want to give out here is simple: in these times of financial collapse, war, environmental catastrophe, and sunless summers, Britain is a shiny, happy nation, one that will sustain itself on nothing more than strong tea, a wing, a prayer and a smile.