Emerging democracies in North Africa need support to help them avoid a reversion to autocracy, said the Foreign Secretary in his Mansion House speech last night. Is it far-fetched to see a parallel with roads? Britain is known for its democratic freedoms, but if you arrive at a junction and can see it’s clear, are you free to go? Not if there’s a red light. How many traffic lights are there in the UK? About 45,000, operating day and night, 365 days a year. That’s a lot of individual freedom overruled by autocratic control.