Cheerio! Why it's good to be British right now

A tennis fan wearing Union Jack sunglasses looks on ahead of the Gentlemen's Singles final match between Andy Murray of Great Britain and Novak Djokovic of Serbia on day thirteen of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships.

The Brits are today basking in a glorious -- and historic -- sporting triumph. Andy Murray won the men’s tennis championship at Wimbledon -- the first time a Brit has pulled that off in 77 years.

The breakthrough is the latest in a mini-series of positive developments in the U.K. and coincides with some slightly better economic news. Could it be that after several years of gloom and stagnation, the U.K. has finally turned the corner and national spirits are reviving?

Not everyone is upbeat. The BBC commentator covering Andy Murray’s winning match was not exactly exultant: “It seems ludicrous to say that a British man has just won Wimbledon!” he declared, as Murray clinched victory and the Centre Court spectators clapped and cheered. That’s not “amazing”  or “wonderful” -- but “ludicrous”!

Fund manager Justin Urquhart-Stewart understands the commentator’s negative reaction. “We’re not used to this. We expect bad news. In fact, we positively thrive on bad news.”

And yet the list of reasons that the Brits have to be cheerful grows longer by the day. Not only have they won Wimbeldon at last, but a Brit’s in the lead in the Tour de France, and after one of the wettest springs on record, summer has arrived with a vengeance and the U.K. is sweltering in  temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius. Oh, and the Royal Baby is due within days.

“I think it’s been a fantastic British summer for sport and lots of other things and when the Royal Baby arrives, we’ll be wanting to celebrate, definitely," says florist Sarah Critchley.

The economic gloom appears to be lifting too: inflation has fallen to around 2.5 percent, car sales are motoring, house sales are picking up and business confidence has hit a 13-month high. Justin Urquhart-Stewart says Britain's sporting successes and the better weather are all helping to improve the economic climate.

But don’t expect all the Brits to rejoice. “We are not as optimisitic as Americans,” he says. “You will assume that the glass is half-full, not half-empty. In London, we assume not that it’s half empty, we assume the glass is cracked!"


5 Reasons it’s Great to be British Right Now

1. Top of the Sports World Ahead of Andy Murray’s big Wimbledon win, British sportsman are riding on top once again. This includes the Birmingham born cyclists Dan Martin who won the Tour De France ninth stage, which marks the race’s second and final day in the Pyrenees this year. And in boxing Paul Smith proud to be British super-middleweight title champion.

2. The Royal Baby The baby bump on everyone’s mind and the due date’s fast approaching. Best of all, anticipation of the Royal baby is expected to give a bump to Britain's economy.

3. The economy's soon to be on track The British economy has dug itself out of the longest and deepest recession on record. A jump in employment numbers and a rising stream of credit continues to fuel British optimism. Plus, the U.K. economy forecast to rebound strongly in 2015 after weak 18 months.

4. Superman British actor Henry Cavill helped boost the latest Superman franchise to sky-high proportions.

5. British Dramas "Downton Abbey," "Dr. Who," "Sherlock." Nostalgia for British wit and flare has the world captivated, especially in China where social media and video streaming sights are buzzing about the popular British dramas.    

About the author

Stephen Beard is the European bureau chief and provides daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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