Friday marks Donald Trump's inauguration, a day many of us had never envisaged. For many of us, it is not just political - it is personal. As a Muslim, an African, a refugee, a woman and a socialist, I fear many of Trump's policies. Of higher borders and a no Muslim entrance policy, of lower corporation tax and casual misogyny. I fear their impact and I fear our future with the way our world leaders are shaping up.
For many people, 2016 was seen as a terrible year. Their worst political nightmares came to be: Brexit, and Trump winning the US presidential elections being seen as the strongest cases in point. Yet for many others - including, most obviously, Nigel Farage, those same events were seen as their political dreams coming true. 2016 was a year to treasure!
We can't keep shutting ourselves off from these views and hoping they'll go away. If we do, and we try to censor them, they'll only grow, and the world will move even further away from where we want it to be. However uncomfortable we find it, it's only by listening to people with these views that we can see where they come from, understand their appeal, and ultimately defeat them..
Nicolas Sarkozy's announcement on Wednesday that, if elected president of France in May 2017, he would give Britain a chance to reverse the Brexit vote, has raised eyebrows across the European Union. Can such a decision, democratically taken by the people of a sovereign member state of the EU, be overlooked? What's in it for Sarkozy?
Europe is already on life support, if a Frexit referendum would to go ahead it would be on death row. The EU without Britain is a catastrophe, the EU without France is Armageddon. The European project would cease to exist. What would then happen in the vacuum that ensues is food for thought, and is a thought that some of the big guns, like Putin must be eyeing with glee.
Unfortunately, for those people who really wanted to debate EU membership and consider voting to leave, they aren't going to get their chance. The referendum has nothing to do with those issues or even EU membership - and for this reason I would encourage everyone of a like mind (to leave) to vote Remain.
This week, the NUS finished its current "Students Not Suspects" tour which was allegedly aimed at fighting the Government's new Prevent strategy to deal with extremism, particularly the threat of Islamist extremism. While the Prevent strategy certainly has its flaws, the NUS's diagnosis is woefully misguided...
Though Russia has trumpeted its goal of fighting fascism more or less continuously since the Second World War, many in Europe have assumed such an ideology to be definitively outmoded. Today, the West must figure out how to speak to disenfranchised citizens in a meaningful way, to show them that dysfunctional democracies can be reformed, and that directing political frustration at society's most vulnerable members is never a constructive way forward.