There is something of a coincidence about articles by Paul Mason ( of Newsnight) in the Guardian and Neil Clark in The First Post Daily today.
As Paul Mason says:
Clark makes the same point:
Many commentators have portrayed the revolts against the ruling regimes in Tunisia and Egypt as something peculiar to the Arab world. It's all to do with Islamists trying to take control, or about the â€šÃ„Ã²Arab world's 1989', we're told.
In fact, they're part of a global phenomenon. What is fuelling the anti-government protests in the Middle East, in Serbia, Albania and Turkish Cyprus are economic factors. People are taking to the streets, not because they are Islamists, far-leftists, or far-rightists, but principally because they want a life. They want jobs and a decent standard of living.
I am convinced that that is true. Back to Paul Mason:
As Clark says:
The street protests in these countries illustrate a growing discontent, particularly among the young, with the neo-liberal model of globalisation and rising anger against corrupt and out-of-touch political elites who seem not to care about their predicament.
And the bad news for those elites is that the discontent is only going to spread.
Last August, the International Labour Organisation revealed that 81 million young people worldwide were without jobs at the end of 2009 - the highest level of youth unemployment ever. The ILO expects the increase to have continued throughout 2010, and with governments across Europe committed to deficit-slashing austerity programmes, unemployment is only going to get worse in 2011.
And to conclude: Clark again:
And there's nothing to say that large-scale anti-government protests won't spread to Britain, too, with economists warning of a double-dip recession and youth unemployment reaching a record high in January.
It seems that across Europe ruling elites have a choice: either change their economic policies and put full employment back on the agenda, or face an increasingly angry populace.
I'm not a fan of social unrest.
In fact I'm far from a fan of either.
But, how would I feel if 21, piled high with debt, no prospect of a job, or a house, or the well being I'm told I'd enjoy? I don't know. And, how do the parents of these young people feel? They're also being betrayed. And that betrayal is not by chance. It is deliberate. The ConDems tax policy, explored here over the last few days is clear indication of that.
The stress in our society is enormous, and growing. Threatening tough policing is not the answer. Delivering real reform is the answer.