A third serious setback was Egypt. The collapse of Hosni Mubarak’s regime in 2011, amid giant protests, raised hopes that democracy would spread in the Middle East. But the euphoria soon turned to despair. Egypt’s ensuing elections were won not by liberal activists (who were hopelessly divided into a myriad of Pythonesque parties) but by Muhammad Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood. Mr Morsi treated democracy as a winner-takes-all system, packing the state with Brothers, granting himself almost unlimited powers and creating an upper house with a permanent Islamic majority. In July 2013 the army stepped in, arresting Egypt’s first democratically elected president, imprisoning leading members of the Brotherhood and killing hundreds of demonstrators. Along with war in Syria and anarchy in Libya, this has dashed the hope that the Arab spring would lead to a flowering of democracy across the Middle East.
So my congratulations to Mr Roy Moore, who has been living my phantasy in the State of Alabama. A populist twice elected sheriff of some sort (“Chief Justice” I think they call it), then twice removed from office for quite literally keeping the Ten Commandments (carving one set himself, I’m told), he is now the Republican candidate and thus presumptive Natted States Senator-elect. The primary wasn’t close. Thirty million dollars and the counter-endorsements of the entire Merican political class could not defeat him. A magnificent troll of Southern defiance, Moore rode to the polls on his fine horse, with his wife on the fine horse beside him.