There’s a lot to be learnt from the United States, but you have to be open to understanding what makes it tick. I’ve just returned from a late night walk around Midtown Manhattan, the section of the city with the sky-scrapers, the opulent shops and abundance of US flags are the clearest hint to the European observer that the big difference here is a collective, individual self-belief; the sense that there are few boundaries that hard work, optimism and the conviction that the pursuit of wealth is (mostly) really OK.
But – there is to be a ‘but’ – it’s as easy here as it is in any other large city to see social problems and evidence of failure on a collective level, such as the homeless in the doorways of the churches on 5th Avenue. Americans, even New Yorkers, tend to be polite and honest; and maybe the pride being shown, for the first time in a number of years, in the office of President is going to help. I hope so. The vibrancy here is quite infectious.