LONDON: Britain’s newspapers welcomed in the New Year yesterday with a warning for Prime Minister David Cameron that he will have to lay a clear path to economic growth and national renewal in 2013.
Newspapers said Cameron needed to reset Britain’s direction in the world at a time when the cuts in the budget deficit would really kick in.
The Times asked how happy a New Year it was going to be, saying the “suspended animation” of British politics would break in 2013, when austerity spending reductions will bite. It said Cameron has to convince the country that he had made “the correct economic choices” and Britain was indeed on the right track.
He also has to persuade the “malcontents” in his Conservative Party that he can deliver a new settlement in Britain’s relations with the European Union that will keep them satisfied.
“Above all else, though, the politics of 2013 will be dominated by the actual experience of austerity,” it said. “Britain’s resolution this New Year must be to get its stuttering economy started.”
The Daily Telegraph said 2013 would be a year of challenges and it was unclear whether Britain’s leaders would rise to them.
“Today we enter the fifth year since the banking crash, and crisis management can, perhaps, give way to a more measured assessment of the longer-term ramifications of this seismic event,” the broadsheet said. In 2013 Britain can “think long and hard about the kind of people we want to be, the kind of country we want to live in and the kind of role we think we should have in the world.”
Britain’s EU membership is “in a state of flux”, while the withdrawal of nearly 5,000 troops from Afghanistan will give space to think about Britain’s future military posture. And the UK’s survival will come into focus when the bill for a referendum on Scotland leaving the union is published.