Fabrice Muamba flattened by
Peter Cruddas

‘What a lovely morning!’ I said to Berta. She didn’t smile. And I can understand why.

Britain at the moment is poised between joy and disaster. There is good news in the Sunday papers. How lucky that Dr Andrew Deaner, consultant cardiologist at the London Chest Hospital, was in the crowd when Fabrice Muamba collapsed! How amazing that a young 17-year-old, Jonathan Antoine, opened his mouth at Britain’s Got Talent and sang like Pavarotti! How inspiring that George Clooney has become a political activist!

But these heart-singing news items are almost entirely crushed, like a clump of purple crocuses flattened underfoot, by the heavy weight of general misery.

My son Robin, I read in the Observer newspaper today, will have to work until he’s 71 before he gets a pension. GPs will be asked to question patients on their drinking habits (even if, perhaps, you have only made an appointment to discuss a verruca). The Duchess of Cambridge’s parents are getting grief over their plans for an extension at their house in Berkshire, and there might, after all, be a third runway at Heathrow. To top it all, the Conservative party co-treasurer Peter Cruddas has done a Fergie and promised access to David Cameron in return for hefty donations. He’s had to resign, of course. But why is there this level of ineptitude in high office?

It is tempting sometimes to give in to a feeling of hopelessness when the country is being run so badly.

But I am determined to remain optimistic. The sun is shining. There are taps to be buffed, cushions to be plumped, and a rose bush to be sprayed.

The antidote to gloom, I always find, is to keep yourself busy.


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