Have more confidence that we are a 'can do' nation
THIS year has certainly been a summer to remember. I'm not talking about the weather, though the memory of a holiday in Devon being lashed by the rain will stay with me for a while. But 2012 will long be remembered for the way Britain came together to mark the Queen's diamond jubilee and put on the world's greatest festival of sport in London.
The events of the last few months have certainly given the nation an injection of the feel good factor. This will be worth more than fuzzy warm feelings if it gives a boost to national self confidence.
Putting on a great show for Her Majesty and staging the phenomenally successful Olympic and Paralympic Games demonstrated to the world that Britain can plan and execute major events.
Remember all the moaning minnies who said that no one would care about the jubilee and the Olympics would be a disaster? The tendency of the national press to talk down Britain has at least been abated for a short time.
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But will there be a more tangible legacy of our summer of celebration and sporting success?
I think the jubilee will have confirmed the national affection for Queen Elizabeth but that may not transfer to her eventual heirs. But I hope the way that we marked the jubilee might have an enduring benefit. Apparently Bristol had one of the highest number of street parties and community events in the country. One of the pleasures of living in a city like Bristol is the sheer diversity of the population.
My Parliamentary seat of Bristol West is one of the most socially mixed in the country. But neighbours and communities can co-exist without genuinely knowing each other. It would be great if Bristol's new mayor had a programme of street closures throughout the year to show that we can get by without the car and make new friends in the neighbourhood.
The legacy of the Olympics and Paralymics is easier to identify. The success of our athletes in both events should spur millions of us into more sporting activity.
We can't all be elite medal winners but everyone can do something to get fit and take part. Again, this may bring more people together in Bristol. Higher levels of participation in sport will also lead to a more healthy city. The achievements of Jonnie Peacock and Paralympic GB will change forever how we view people with a disability.
My 5,000m runs on the treadmill at Kingsdown Sports Centre are at a more sedate pace than Mo Farrah but I feel a lot better for the effort. So after this summer let us all resolve to get fitter, meet more Bristolians and have more confidence that we are a "can do" nation.
Stephen Williams is MP for Bristol West