Leading article: Reasons to be cheerful, parts 1 to 10

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1. This is a bank holiday weekend. The sun is shining. Or possibly not, depending on where you are when you read this. The weather forecast for today is that wonderful artefact of the English language and the British culture, "scattered showers". Even if it is raining, that is a reason to be cheerful: it will not last long, and it is the rain that makes this country green. And it is a good spring for cowslips, back from the brink.

2. The Independent on Sunday's Let Children Grow campaign to encourage gardening in schools has, in one week, signed up 267 schools. The campaign has been shamelessly copied by rival newspapers, to which we say: let a thousand flowers bloom.

3. The balance of scientific and medical opinion is that the first wave of the "swine flu" pandemic is most unlikely to cause deaths on anything like the scale first feared.

4. Barack Obama has made an impressive start. His first 100 days, which ended on Wednesday, constitute too short a span over which to judge him, but his sure-footedness and poise continue to impress. It may not be saying much to say that he has not disappointed the sky-high expectations of him yet, but given the scale of what is at stake, let us be grateful for incremental mercies. In particular, he has made a promising start in turning around US policy on climate change – offering hope to the world that the Copenhagen summit at the end of the year will be more than another blast of hot air.

5. There are signs of life in the Labour Party. As we report today, Alan Johnson, the Health Secretary, and Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, are discreetly signalling their availability, should either be called upon by his party and country to serve. This is good news after a week in which Gordon Brown, in contrast to President Obama, destroyed the last hopes vested in him by, well, at least the 7 per cent of the British electorate that lifted Labour's level of support in the opinion polls when he took over. The Prime Minister's "moral compass" – as much of a hostage to fortune as his promise to "end boom and bust" – was left spinning. On Monday he abandoned his plan to reform MPs' expenses by paying them extra to turn up for work. By Wednesday he was defeated in his attempt to defend the indefensible (see No 9). But Messrs Johnson and Straw offer the democratic gain of a general election in which the outcome may not be a foregone conclusion.

6. Half a glass of wine a day makes you live five years longer, and long-term "light" consumption of beer or spirits adds two and a half years to your life. Non-drinkers can rejoice in the news that abandoned meerkats Lia and Roo are being hand reared by London Zoo.

7. The Met Office's long-range forecast is for a sunny summer, opening up the pleasant vista of three months spent communing with nature. So switch off the computer and the mobile, get the children outside planting seeds, climbing trees and doing all those things that grown-ups remember doing as children when they were really indoors watching Magpie and Crackerjack. It means the rebirth of the Great British Holiday. And our correspondent with an eye on the foreign exchange markets notes that the pound is creeping up again, so holidaymakers win either way.

8. We look forward to a bumper summer of sport. The British Lions tour South Africa. Jenson Button is driving a car very fast. There is the Ashes; the prospect of the FA Cup being won by a team outside the boring top four; a roof over Centre Court at Wimbledon (well, all right, purists please themselves); England look set fair to qualify for next year's World Cup; and Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are in with a chance. Not a fan? There is the biggest-ever Proms and stadium stand-ups are selling out.

9. The Daily Mail came out in support of immigration; Nick Clegg is a hero; Joanna Lumley is the new Vera Lynn. The Gurkhas get to stay.

10. UK consumer confidence has bounced back to pre-crunch levels. Yes, government debt is worryingly high and as a nation we are X amount poorer than we were, where X is a very large number that only two-year-olds with IQs of 156 understand. Anyway, it is only money.

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