There was a time when United Kingdom (UK) was synonymous with a country where sun never sets and milk and honey are supposed to be flowing, symbolizing its prosperity and power status with many colonies under its thumb. Struggle for independence by these colonies systematically led to shrinking of its power, finally ending up with one small bit of an island in the European continent. Even in Europe UK was being overshadowed by other nations and life is not as rosy as it used to be during the good old days of colonialism
Look at the present status of UK as being reported by a recent study which highlights the current plight of UK citizens. "Familiar bugbears such as longer working hours and the high cost of living contributed to Britain's bottom place in a survey of 10 European countries. Relatively low holiday entitlement was another reason the UK came last in the uSwitch.com European quality of life index".
Though income wise UK may be high on the list, the quality of life is not guaranteed by gross annual income alone and the cost of living ultimately decides the same. It is a surprise that countries like France and Spain once ridiculed for their relatively backward status are much better placed to live compared to UK! What ever be the reasons, this is a lesson for other powerful countries that nothing is perpetual in the world and "every dog has his day"!