Since church-going has declined, new opiates-for -the-masses have replaced religon. Celebrity obssession is one. But the old stand-by of patriotism to distract us from hard times is never far away - and this year more than ever.
The prospect of a triple-whammy of Jubilee, London Olympics - and Andy Murray winning Wimbledon just makes want to dive under the covers and not come out until September.
Setting aside 'our Andy's' apparent total lack of personality - or to more precise his utterly boring, dour and sulky personality - his only apparent saving grace is that he is British. I'm afraid it all adds up with a horrible predictability - Wimbledon with its lawns, strawberries and cream, blazers and panamas - and much-discussed rain is about as British as it gets.
So I wince at the flag-waving prospect of a Murray victory this year echoing Virginia Wade's victory in the silver jubilee year of 1977. Just wake me up when it's all over.