If we in Britain have gained one thing from the US elections it's an appreciation for the American spirit: ideals of personal liberty, self-responsibility, rugged individualism and unbridled aspiration. These are ideals and principles upon which the US federal republic was founded in 1776 and ideals which have allowed the United States to become a hegemonic force for political, economic, social and cultural good.
Americans, by their very Constitution, hold these ideals of personal liberty, self-reliance and restless ambition to be self evident. Yet in Britain we recoil with horror from those who try to break the mould and strive to push ahead, preferring gestures of collective mediocrity. We prefer to huddle together; we don't want to rock the boat; we'd prefer not to stand out from the crowd. Where the Americans celebrate success we play things down.
Yet it was us British who brought the ideals of individual freedom, greatness and restless ambition to our American cousins. The United States of America was, after all, born from the figurative birth canal of Great Britain. However somewhere in the past we've mislaid the ideals of individual-pursuit and the enterprising spirit while the Americans have embraced them. We've sacrificed the encouragement of the individual for concern over the collective.
We only have to look to the example of Britain's recession-beating Cambridge Satchel Co. It was founded by single British mum, Julie Deane, who left obscurity to land a regular slot in the glossy magazines and runways of Paris and Milan. Yes she served up a slice of Britain, marketed it to the hungry markets and beat the economic downturn. Yet we in Britain have heard little about this recession-beating wonder woman or her recession-proof company.
But the Americans haven't had any difficulty showcasing Julie Deane, her successes or her phenomenally popular bespoke satchel company. No, they've had her on all the fancy news channels and interview programmes. Google and FedEx have even produced ad campaigns which feature the story of Julie Deane and how she went from fashion zero to hero.
We in Britain need take a leaf out of America's book and learn to embrace the ideas, ingenuity and creativity of men and women. We need to free our young people to see that they can be anyone that they want to be. That our young people can achieve whatever they so set their heart upon. Too often it's positively dangerous for a young man or woman to set himself apart in the classroom for fear of ridicule and bullying. This needs to end.
If we work to counter this damaging mentality we can liberate the real creative potential of Britain's young people which has for too long been suppressed by Britain cringe mentality and aversion to individual success. We need to look to the likes of Julie Deane with pride. We need to look to Julie Deane and celebrate her story and her business achievements so that young people can see that success is possible and that they too can go from zero to hero. And that it's a good thing!
We need more young people like the The Huffington Post UK's blogger Steve Bartlett (@_SteveBartlett) who lives and breathes ambition. We also need to get behind campaigns like StartUp Britain (startupbritain) which is working to celebrate, inspire and accelerate enterprise in the UK. We British can be an enterprising and success-loving country like America; we just need to liberate our young people so they can see their real potential and so that can express their true and unfettered ability.