Many of us feel pessimistic, at times, about secular, modern Britain. The Opening Ceremony of the Olympics seems to have left many unimpressed. Wide media criticism reflected that.
What is now clear is that the "hot ticket of the summer" was for the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympics, as reflected in this article by Melvyn Bragg today. Of course, Bragg would like to see Britain credit Christianity more - and he makes those points at the end.
The Paralympics Opening Ceremony's huge and universal historical themes (eternity, "new worlds" of art, science and discovery, the fantastic "dreaming on space"), the iconic mechanical voice of Stephen Hawking, the sheer theatre and artistry, rainbow colours, huge books, rain, choice of music (including Handel and Holst), the courage of the flying and cycling disabled, even Ian Drury's song "Spasticus" were all beautifully choreographed and performed. Moving, artistic, uplifting. Even "The Tempest" references made some sense. For me, the only thing missing was protection of the environment.
The world have never before seen such a spectacle performed by those with disabilities. Can they not have noticed that our educated, talented and courageous disabled project our traditional national identity and true "British" character? That perception - right across the media - is the outcome of this "greatest show on earth".
Suffering and perseverance deepens the character and one's grip on what is real. Even God gets a "look in". My experience is that those with chronic health conditions rarely if ever "sneer at God".
With the help of outstanding, able-bodied carers and trainers (again "true Brits"), the UK has become "quite good" at disability. Indeed, my continued employment comes out of the Disability Discrimination Act, implemented by a public body.
My dearest hope is that Britiain can sustain this, and, in the next 5-10 years, will fight to make further progress to embrace all its people with invisible and chronic health conditions and disabilities - particularly ME which is still deeply marginalised.