First Graph - what we normally see when the subject of debt is discussed in the media - note the scary graph starts at 2008
Second Graph - those same figures - debt as a % of GDP shown historically before 2008
Third Graph, for US readers showing what your level of terrifying debt (default! default!) looks like compared to the record of the UK. Note that AFTER that high peak of debt the UK became the sole world superpower. So much for national decline based on debt eh?