What was your abiding memory of the London 2012 Olympics?
Here’s an image burned on my own personal retina, snapped at the final event of the summer, the Paralympic Marathon.
My wife and I were standing on a sun-dappled Embankment of the Thames at the time, under a cloudless blue sky. London felt like the centre of the world. We felt proud to be ‘Made in Britain’*.
Indeed it was a summer when an entire nation of self-deprecators was forced to recognise we are right up there with the bravest, most innovative and enterprising in the world. I swear even pigeons were whistling Rule Britannia. Two weeks on, the papers are full of doom, chipping away at the feel-good factor. “Back to Work” scream the headlines, “Time to get Real”. The media seem to have a vested interest in painting the future as dark and dangerous.
But the truth is, it is up to us to decide. We all have our inner optimists and inner pessimists each competing for our attention, boosting or sapping our energy for the future. The question is who will win in the long run. That’s the real Marathon.
* If you want to feel a bit more glass half full about the economy I can recommend Evan Davis’ book Made in Britain which explains just why the UK economy is more successful that we all think.