Half the population of Egypt is under 24, and half the population of Syria under 21. Half of the population of Gaza are under 17, and of Yemen 16. In other circumstances, this 'bulge' of a prime working-age cohort entering the labour market would presage economic boom, but outside of the BRIC nations if economies are stagnant and opportunities limited what it produces is a lot of angry young men and a market for assault rifles. Back in February, when the shoots of Spring were stirring, I wrote
What they have in common in their demands is not ideological; this isn't a war of competing ideas. What they want is a bigger say in their nation's conduct, an end to nepotism and corruption and a fairer go at prosperity. Much like our own young people, really. They want the rewards of a globalisation process that depends on the expansion of a global middle-class for economic growth; jobs and salaries, secure homes and consumer goods. The great sadness, and the great threat, is that they've probably missed the boat.Of the three objectives I stated for our own polity, the corruption of the political class is as entrenched as ever, with them now proposing to establish themselves as State parties at the taxpayer's expense, the EU is more repressive than ever, rolling nascent democracy into the dirt, and the unfair and unequal grip of Socialist ideology on our nation and society remains untouched. We face entering the Winter of the World with all the evils of Statism still in place, and unless we deal with them, we'll regret it eternally.
The twenty-first century will be utterly different from the post-war bureaucratic age we've known in the West; what it will bring we simply don't know - there are just too many variables, one can't model chaos. We can be sure that we can't stand immune from the tectonic shifts now in motion, and with no assurance that the tensions now manifest in the Mahgreb won't play themselves out here in the UK. All of which makes it even more urgent that we deal once and for all with the corruption of the political class, the denial of popular democracy by a repressive European Union and its domestic dags, and the growth of a fair and equitable society free of Socialist inequalities, distortions and jobbery.