If complaining was an Olympic sport, the Brits would win hands down.
The time has come to talk up the future, rather than down the present and the past.
Yes, we’re exposed to the European debt plague, but not yet chronically wounded by it. This quarter with the great weather and Olympics will be wonderful, despite the Olympian efforts to complain about failed security or last-minute strikes, and the three-headed Cerberus of British politics (Cameron, Clegg and Miliband) doing its best to maul the country’s economy.
Yet if we continue in the British sport of complaining about everything, spearing every banker that crosses our path, crucifying executives at select committees, and holding strikes against the will of the majority then we will end up in a systemic recession.
Perhaps our complaining culture will change as media and tabloid journalism evolve following the Leveson inquiry. The Rupert Murdoch era has finished, with his resignations across the UK papers, decision to divest newspapers from the rest of the empire, and the refusal of Cerberus to allow him to spend his £5 billion investment in the UK on acquiring the rest of BSkyB (which would have freed up existing investors to invest elsewhere in Britain). No doubt with our friendly prosecution of bankers we will see restraints on new financial services industry investments here.
Similarly, whilst technology giants are often blamed for tax avoidance by locating offshore or using Ireland as their hub for UK sales, it looks increasingly plausible that the litigious attitude of politicians and manufactured public anger at wealth acquisition is also partly responsible.
This week British Gas declared half year profits of £1.45 billion. This is not a cause for alarm; it’s good news that a British energy company, not largely owned by our European colleagues, actually makes money. Whilst we might complain that this seems profiteering, it is not. It’s only about 10 per cent of the profit Apple made in same period, and we don’t complain daily about our beloved iPhone and iPads costing nearly the same as an annual electricity bill each.
If we want Britain and business to grow, we must celebrate it, not complain about it all the time.