BY all accounts our local traders were pleasantly surprised by the health of their trade this Christmas season.
Admittedly expectations had been low so maybe it didn’t take much to exceed them.
It is a sad sign of our times that a positive outcome is often one which was less bad than might have been predicted.
There were some unusual features of Christmas this year. The weather was remarkably good. People had longer than usual between getting off work and waking up on Christmas morning so time pressures didn’t cause so much stress. Banbridge looked good and felt good. It seemed to me that there were more people smiling.
In a weird twist of fate the tensions and uncertainties which afflicted other parts of the province and Belfast in particular kept more people shopping locally.
Flag protests here were earnest but responsible. Had that not been the case Banbridge could have been in lock down and we would have watched Christmas happening somewhere else.
To their great credit politicians and community leaders in Banbridge seemed to have recognised how dangerous it would have been to have driven political agendas over the Christmas period. None of them tried to tell us what to be afraid of or who to blame for it.
The flag issue exploded largely because many politicians didn’t mirror or signal before manoeuvring. They drove on recklessly with no regard for road conditions at the time.
Afterwards they all blamed each other for the carnage without any real regard for the victims. Here we saw a much wiser and sensitive approach.
Hopefully the wise perspective will remain through 2013. Banbridge is in a good place right now.
Developments are on their way. Our expectations can rightly rise as we go into this New Year.