Keith Harrison: And our survey says . . . anything you want it to
If you look hard enough you can find a survey about which town has the worst traffic (Stafford), the best bars (Ironbridge) and the most bearded ladies (Vienna).
They can tell you anything you need to know, but mostly it's stuff that you don't.
Lies, damned lies and statistics; they can be twisted in every which way so you lose.
They have regular, easy targets – and the Black Country is definitely one of them.
In the past, the Lonely Planet website has even named Wolverhampton as the fifth worst city in the world.
Which proves many things, most notably that the Lonely Planet has never visited east Lancashire.
Before that, Queen Victoria chipped in – describing the city as 'large and dirty' but did mention the friendliness of the people.
This week it's been Rightmove giving our glorious region a bit of stick.
They've carried out research weighing up people's views on decor, space, contentment, value, investment, wellbeing, pride, costs, safety, amenities, recreation and friendliness to create something called a 'happy at home' index.
They say it provides an 'insight into the emotive relationship we have with the place we call home' and claim to have surveyed nearly 50,000 people. Mmmmm.
Personally, I weigh up my happiness at home by the amount of Fruit & Nut in the fridge and the presence of men kicking a football on my TV screen.
Anyway, according to their survey, Wolverhampton has the least happy population outside London.
Wulfrunians may be many things, but miserable?
Sorry, I'm not having it.
Having padded the streets of many a town in my journalistic career, I can safely say the locals are among the warmest, nicest and – yes – happiest people I've ever met.
Ask someone a question in London and they barely break stride.
(Think Grant Mitchell from EastEnders.)
Ask the same thing in the Black County and you'll get someone's life story, their honest views on any subject and probably the offer of a pint of Banks's to discuss it further.
(Think Barry from Auf Wiedersehen Pet.)
But there are some positives to be had around here; people in Telford came top in happiness with the decor in their home and were also the most relaxed in the country about the cost of running it.
Residents in Shrewsbury were (apparently) the most concerned about the money side of things.
Again, this may well raise an eyebrow among our well-heeled Salopian readers.
Perhaps it's time to ring Vernon Kay on Family Fortunes and ask Mr Babbage himself whether Black Country folk are so unhappy with their lot?
Uh-Uh! Our survey said . . . Gerroffwivya.
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