LEADER: Take a tip from the US on optimism

Why are we Brits such a cynical bunch? Having just returned from a trip to the US, the British press suddenly feels ultra gloomy.

The headlines here are dominated by our apparently imminent plunge into recession and house price hell, while the political scene feels moribund and obsessed with sleaze.

The US economy is hardly buoyant, but at least its politics feel vibrant and exciting at present in comparison.

As our report from the frontline of the Primaries battle this week shows, there is genuine enthusiasm and participation on 'main street USA', which puts our supposed democracy to shame.

Watching the political TV reports in the US is an invigorating experience. Not least because one actually hears full speeches from the candidates, rather than some world-weary political editor kindly interpreting 'what this means' for particular politicians.

Certainly one could be cynical about the money involved in the US candidates' campaigns. Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have raised $100m over the past year, and some of the Republicans even more. But, on the other hand, there is a real choice for the electorate, while the rhetoric is largely optimistic.

Clinton's much covered 'tears of exhaustion' were clearly far from contrived. Meanwhile we have the colour of a credible black candidate along with war veterans and Bible-bashers of all types - all a far cry from the middle-class white men in suits that seem to dominate our politics.

Next week we will no doubt read the hackneyed annual survey of how a particular day is the 'most depressing date of the year'. Well, it will be if we wallow in our despair. Our reports on the recession fears this week actually show there is much to be optimistic about for PR professionals as we start this New Year.

Now we need our politicians and businessmen to agree.

 

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