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David Porter » Articles at Suite 101 » Happy New Year For Brand ‘United Kingdom’?

Happy New Year For Brand ‘United Kingdom’?

As the nation still basks in the feel-good big events from 2012 (mainly the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and the Olympic/Paralympic Games), and with the fireworks heralding 2013 still a vivid memory, it’s interesting to look back at thoughts I published on Suite 101 on 1st January as 2012 began.

It’s no mystical prediction that after an economically trying 2011, Britons look to 2012 for relief and solutions. But will positives or doomsters be right?

The end of 2011 media round-ups and new year messages from politicians, businesses, religious and community leaders serve to remind people that somehow by the simple process of moving from one day to the next, one year to the following, all will be well.

Samoa, the tiny South Pacific nation jumped across the International Time Line a day by the simple device of abolishing December 30th 2011, which became New Year’s Eve instead. This was to bring her in line with neighbouring trading nations and be first to welcome the new year instead of last.

There are people who may wish 2011 could be as simply wiped away. But the reality of life means that the UK is set to face exceptional challenges and perhaps some rare successes in 2012.

The Bright Sides

Following international acclaim for the Royal Wedding in April 2011, hopes are high that the ‘magic’ of the British Royal Family will bring tourists in and warm the hearts of Britons in a ‘count the blessings’ sort of way, which will generally support the economy.

It’s the Diamond Jubilee of the accession to the throne of HM The Queen, the world’s longest serving monarch. It was in 1952 that 25 year old Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II, ushering in ’a new Elizabethan age’ after years of war and austerity.

Rebirth began with The Festival of Britain (1951), a government sponsored national event to stimulate recovery after the war and promote British achievements in science, architecture, technology, industrial design and the arts. Centred on London’s South Bank, there were touring events around the country.

Some people feel Britain’s economic/terrorism/military conflicts of the past few years have been like a war, affecting everybody, changing and costing much, so in a sense, the Jubilee will be a festival of achievement of The Queen personally and the entire institution of monarchy.

Coupled with the celebrations, the UK (mainly London) is to play host to the Olympic Games and Euro 2012 football. Britain previously hosted Olympics in 1948, when not only was the world simpler (security, sports sciences) it was poorer, recovering from the world war, 1939-45.

2012’s spectacular is expected to earn and cost billions. True profit/loss will be hard to calculate; but the Government said on 31st December 2011, ‘these will not be austerity Games’. All hope sports facilities and investment will benefit future generations. One downside, noted by AXA Insurance, is household insurance claims are set to soar as gatherings of friends and families offer rich pickings for burglars in empty houses.

It Comes Down to Marketing

In September 2011, Prime Minister Cameron told business leaders in USA that the Government had pump-primed £2 billion investment in a promotional campaign, GREAT Britain. It invites visitors to see ‘Great British Achievements’, like its entrepreneurs, heritage and knowledge.

They also include: Shopping Is Great (London is the shopping capital of the world); Green Is Great (the world’s first truly sustainable Olympics and Paralympics); Music Is Great (from Glastonbury to Glyndebourne, Adele to The Beatles) and Creativity Is Great (from Art to Architecture, film to fashion, talent leads the world).

Technology Is Great (Tech City London, the fastest growing tech cluster in Europe) and Countryside Is Great (some of the world’s most inspiring landscapes) make up the thrusts of differing appeal. Cameron described the approach as ‘proud and loud’. Clearly, it was built in the aftermath of the summer 2011 riots, with many negative impressions to challenge.

Doomsday Scenarios

The 2009 movie 2012, described by IMDb, as ‘an epic adventure about a global cataclysm that brings an end to the world and tells of the heroic struggle of the survivors’ started the countdown to what excitable media pundits are calling the ‘doomsday 2012 scenario’.

That it will be a globally difficult economic year, never mind simply within the UK and the Eurozone as massive changes lie ahead, is a given. That Westminster must include and address the people and privations in all parts of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is equally obvious.

Tourism, heritage, new technology will help Brand UK enormously, but time will tell if they are sufficient. Note Government pushing/accentuating the positive at every turn, which should have a beneficial-spiral effect on the economy. The conjunction of the bicentenary of Charles Dickens, the century since Benjamin Bitten was born and the Titanic sndk may be interesting.

2012 was prophesied long ago. According to 2012 Prophecies, there are 11 different ones on the internet, with the Mayans as the most prominent in popular mythology. They said, based on an astronomical cycle of 26,000 years, that from 1999 the world had thirteen years to change conscious attitude away from the path of self-destruction.

It could all mean horrific earthquakes or ‘the missing planet Nibiru slamming into our planet’. This is also known as Planet X, orbiting our sun every 3600 years, and some observers believe it is getting closer. It will appear as two suns in the sky to us, signalling havoc. They’re now using web-bot predictions about it, based on ‘web chatter’ representing the ‘collective unconsciousness of society’. Easy to dismiss it as sci-fi geek territory, but it did predict a life-altering event, with effects felt world-wide just before 9/11.

The Hopi/Navajo prophecy speaks of no more ceremonies or faith, but a new cycle of life. Others say World War III will start in India, China, Africa and Islamic states. There are Aztec and Inca prophecies that reckon there will maximum solar explosions scorching the earth.

An Ancient Greek clairvoyant called Sybil, trained by Pythagoras, wrote of nine periods of 800 years, with the time following filled with doom and gloom. The Bible ends with the Book of Revelation, filled with ‘strange and awesome imagery’ interpreted by many as God’s judgments as plague, earthquakes, fire, famine, meteors and the anti-Christ which will reign till the battle of Armageddon.

2012 Prophecies claim that Merlin’s prognostications recalled Revelation in their apocalyptic vision. Mother Shipton’s (1488-1561) visions in Yorkshire, the writings of Nostradamus, science fiction and fantasy writers and dreamers – all have views which feed into this 2012 issue.

Entrepreneurs Emergency Food Storage started in 2009 to supply food storage, survival food and supplies, freeze dried food, water storage/purification using the motto, ‘be prepared’. They say: ‘sadly the unexpected can happen and often catches us out, whether job loss, natural disaster or 2012 doomsday’.

They seem to have missed the irony that if 2012 really proves to be the ‘end of the world’, then survival supplies will be of no use! But then again, predictions are notoriously hard to get right and most have proved wrong, so far.


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