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Fireworks and a good countdown are part of a long-established tradition for celebrating each new year, saying goodbye to the year just gone and rejoicing in the possibility of a new start.

For me, it doesn’t really feel like a new year without the BBC's coverage of the countdown, Big Ben and the annual, spectacular firework display in London. Unfortunately, due to a lack of television signal at the last minute, this year my friends and I had to make do with a makeshift countdown and weird version of "Auld Lang Syne" which Alexa found when she couldn’t connect to Spotify (I know, how modern!).

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Despite this, I did find the coverage of the crucial moment whilst browsing YouTube a few days later and must admit my first thoughts weren’t about how amazing it was, or how perfectly timed to the music. Instead, I found myself wondering about the costs of the production.

Importance of the 2019 London fireworks display

Now, I’m a sucker for a good firework display (or anything sparkly really), and this year definitely didn’t disappoint, as well as bringing to light (literally) other issues such as the intensifying Brexit conversations and the division between us which seems oh-so prominent these days.

The message included during the display of 'London is open' couldn't have come at a more prominent time, when we're at the edge of tensions with Europe and hostilities towards refugees reaching tipping point, as well as rising accounts of religious hate crimes, it was great to have a reminder that London belongs to everyone who has made their home there. That you don’t have to be born in this great country to be welcome.

A lovely message for the new year.

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So, what's the problem with the fireworks?

Although I enjoyed the fireworks display and message of inclusion it contained, the cynic in me couldn’t help but wonder whether the money spent on this elaborate display could have been better placed?

Maybe I’m just feeling critical in my old(er/ish) age, but when we have people living on the streets and nurses using food banks, could this cash have been used in a more worthy manner to bring an actual change to the lives of people who need it most? Could it have made a difference in this turbulent and uncertain time? Perhaps.

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Was it worth it?

But I guess another argument alongside the reason footballers and sports professionals celebrations are so successful and lavish: sometimes we just need a distraction. A bit of cheering up from the darkness surrounding us.

Maybe in this sense, the money spent on this beautiful display of literal light in the darkness was best placed here, as a celebration of the new year and something people from all walks of life can appreciate and enjoy.

Maybe something as time-honoured and traditional as London’s new year display was just what we needed to welcome in 2019 as a United Kingdom.