Annual tradition dictates that during the last week of the year the national dot coms mesh together a stream of highlights, presenting us with a re-run of the failures and triumphs, that has helped shape the UK over the past 365 days. As we scroll down the list of flickering images we are welcomed by an alien yet familiar film which somehow manages to veer our moods interchangeably from joy and celebration to somber fermentation within seconds. Instead of pressing the repeat button I have decided to fast forward through the sadder scenes and will bring you a merry mixture of a few items of peaceful press coverage that has uplifted and rejoiced the spirits of many Brits and has reflected the collective efforts put forward by society at times of calamity and mishap. Jump onto my bandwagon and let’s take a trip down memory lane…
April 2011 – The Royal Wedding of Prince William & Princess Middleton which took place on 29th April was announced a national bank holiday and gave people from all over the UK a day off work to rejoice the matrimony of the Royal couple. Many British citizens from all ethnic and religious backgrounds attended in their thousands to cheer and celebrate in unity. Whilst some citizens celebrated by painting their faces with the union jack and by holding street parties, others held community gatherings at places of worship and made special prayers in congregation for the well-being of the Royal couple.
May 2011 – Queen Elizabeth II marked a huge moment in British-Irish history on Wednesday 18 May when she stepped onto Irish soil, the first visit to Ireland by a reigning British Monarch since George V in 1911. The Queen’s four day visit, welcomed by the Irish President Mary McAlkeese was seen as a day which would go down in history as a day of reconciliation between the two nations.
More recently the Prime Minister, David Cameron has said that her visit worked as a “game-changer” in Anglo-Irish relations and has put the relationship between the two countries on a new level.
August 2011 – Following the tragic urban riot incidences which set alight in North London and stretched across England, many people were left downhearted and hopeless at the scene of broken and burnt property. Whilst some people were left jobless and even houseless as a consequence, a triumphant come back from thousands of residents proved that through united effort help was at hand. Local residents from all over the country took to the streets with a broom in one hand, a spade in another and a smile on their faces and worked together to help clean the streets of their borough.
Donation pages were created by volunteers in a bid to raise funds for those unfortunate people who had lost their businesses and properties. At such times it was neither creed nor colour which formed a division between these citizens. People opened their doors and hearts to each other irrespective of whoever they were or where they were from to help heal together.
I have great faith in the British society and know that with a little effort and perseverance we can all work jointly towards a more peaceful and happy Britain. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a prosperous New Year and urge you to do something positive for your neighbourhood in 2012 so that next year we can reflect upon a vibrant magnitude of positive news stories depicting the progressive, cohesive and interconnected society we currently live in. We all have New Year’s resolutions, make this achievement become one of yours.
*The ideas expressed in this column are solely the opinions of the author and not necessarily of the Dialogue Society