Britain: No time for complacency

But the time for renewal.

emerged at Heathrow's crowded T3 before Christmas off a flight from the Far East. London is mild this year, with one of the warmest winters since records started. The atmosphere here is cheery and resigned. Life progresses for most much as usual. But there's fear that austerity measures will begin to bite hard in the New Year: the people are braced for the worst. Uplifting celebrations of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic Games will show the UK in positive light and distract the locals from personal traumas.

There's an entire generation of poor governance and red-tape to unravel. And by best guestimates the country won't emerge from its debt hole for five or so years. But the prospects are dazzling: shedding the Euro-shackles at last, broadening the economy away from over-dependence on banking to embrace modern tech industry and traditional manufacturing, developing renewed relationships with former trade partners, and presenting a distinct voice in global politics.

Renewal is in prospect. And if any country has a proven track record in that it's the UK. Happy New Year.

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