Leading article: Normal failure resumed. Phew!

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It is not quite the relief of Mafeking, but it is quite a relief for all that. And relief, in these stressful times, is as much a cause for celebration as the military triumphs of yesteryear. We refer, of course, to the heart-warming performance of the England cricket team. A resolute team effort has restored our faith, not only that night will follow day, but that the batting will collapse just when other outcomes seemed possible. This is reassuring. Not least because it forms part of a pattern of excitements that have calmed.

The very foundations of what sociologists call our belief systems had been threatened, not just by winning the Ashes, but by the idea that we might be capable of staging the Olympic Games. It turns out, though, that we are back in the comfortable and familiar territory of cost overruns. Not only that, but, after last year's flirtation with "winter holiday countdowns", market forces seem to have put advent calendars back in the shops. We're arguing with the Europeans about our rebate. The Tories are on the point of electing a new leader. Girls like pink. Things are back to the time-honoured way they should be. As we said, what a relief. Normal service has been resumed. Carry on.