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... and reasons to be cheerful in 2013

* The G8 is coming

The fact the leaders of the world's most powerful countries have chosen to meet in Northern Ireland in June is astounding, made even more so by the laudable decision to ignore the obvious and more accessible choices and head to Fermanagh. Once again the eyes of the world will be on Northern Ireland.

But this time the most interested viewers will be the world's business movers and shakers who can add zeroes to our gross domestic product with the stroke of a pen. If that weren't enough, the local tourist industry will receive a boost from the huge number of travelling media which follow every utterance of the G8 and will challenge the Olympic press pack for sheer size.

If we're ever to shine, it should be in June when we hope it's our unenviable hospitality that is remembered by the visitors and the rest of the world and not flags, marches or any hint of our troubled past.

* There's light over yonder

Let's be frank, the Northern Ireland economy isn't in great health.

But, if we stick by the rule that we tend to lag behind the UK as a whole and the rest of the world, then there is hope.

The UK economy is stuttering but pulled itself out of recession in the third quarter of the year and is expected to post healthy growth in both 2012 and 2013.

The European debt crisis rumbles on but even the most troubled economies of Greece and Spain seem to have got the ruins of their economic house in order.