Half-time during the Premier League final. Millions of Brits are tuned in, and during the break an advert comes on. A famous actor, let's say Colin Firth, is walking in the dark, from the pitch up the players' tunnel. Colin slowly emerges from the darkness to tell us that 'it's half-time in Britain'. We move from the tunnel to a ream of apparently normal scenes around the country.
We're taken by air over some of our cities, there is a shot of children going to school, a family sitting for breakfast, people looking through the jobs section of a newspaper. 'People are out of work and they're hurting. They're all wondering what they're going to do to make a comeback. We're all scared, because this isn't a game', continues Colin's narration.
He goes on to talk about how we've seen tough times before. How there have been times 'when the fog of division, discord, and blame made it hard to see what lies ahead', but that when those times passed, 'we all rallied around what was right. That's what we do. We find a way through tough times, and if we can't find a way, we make one'.
These aren't my first steps toward a Hollywood career, these are quotes taken from a half-time Super Bowl ad in America. Colin Firth was played by Clint Eastwood, in a flourish of optimism which went viral and is still being discussed. The ad was for a car company, but that's not apparent until the end, by which point you'd be forgiven for thinking that Clint was running for office.
Optimism is important in life, and we are lacking in it. We constantly hear gloom from politicians and the media, which filters down through all levels of society. We are in difficult economic times - people are struggling - but what good does it do to revel in that difficulty? Where is our entrepreneurial get-up-and-go? Where are our national figures describing the better days around the corner?
Why aren't British companies producing optimistic ads, showing us how they are forging a stronger economy and supporting people and communities?
People are bombarded each week with messages of 'lost generations' and a 'never-ending slump'. Little wonder there is no economic confidence. Our American cousins thrive on their optimistic spirit, the idea that better days are ahead. In the words of Clint Eastwood their 'country can't be knocked out with one punch'. Americans are embracing early signs of economic recovery; that confidence fuels a positive cycle.
Brits - including our political leaders - prefer to sit around moaning. Our best days are behind us, they say. 'Little Britain syndrome' has taken ahold throughout the nation. I tell you what will get rid of it: a dose of British optimism to snap us out of our funk. We need that half-time ad, reminding us that we too are a great country capable of digging ourselves out of a hole.
Your humble blogger would recommend 'Jerusalem' as the background music.
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