My column for West Sussex newspapers: This weekend I joined around 700,000 people to take part in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch. Many of our domestic bird species are under threat although I counted lots of different species including a nuthatch and a woodpecker. No sparrows though.
This is a great country, and we mustn’t fall into the trap of believing those that say decline is inevitable. It was wrong in the late seventies and it is wrong now.
We have led the world on Ukraine – the first to train Ukrainian troops five years ago, the first to send defensive weapons, the biggest financial donor after the US and recently the first to commit tanks. We are members of the G7 and the permanent council of the United Nations.
Yes, we are facing some economic headwinds at the moment – particularly in energy bills - but so too is most of the world. By spending an average of £3,500 this year and next, the Government is substantially offsetting the increase in energy bills for most households.
Yes, we have not yet returned to pre-pandemic employment, but our economy still has nearly the lowest unemployment for half a century.
Yes, inflation has risen - but it is still lower than in 14 EU countries, with interest rates rising more slowly than in the US or Canada.
Today, there are five-year, fixed rate mortgages for 4.2%: higher than some of the exceptionally low rates before but in a historical context still not unusual.
And while our public sector continues to recover more slowly than from the pandemic – strengthening the case for reform - our private sector has grown 7.5% in the last year.
Last week a survey of international business leaders by PWC said the UK was the world’s third-most attractive country for CEOs expanding their businesses.
So next time someone is all doom and gloom, don’t be afraid to ask them where else they would rather be!