I was truly shocked when a slim majority voted for Brexit a year ago, on June 23. It was to be the first shock caused by an election outcome in 2016 in which populists whipped up popular resentment and won. The question troubling me since: When is it going to stop? When's the world coming to its senses?
As Theresa May forms a coalition of chaos with the socially regressive DUP the mask of progress adorned by the Conservatives under Cameron and Osborne is slipping. A forward looking Labour Party that ties anti-establishment politics to the young sprit of hope and progress in this country stands only to gain.
Opportunists feed on popularism much like a fellow who claims to be victimised by everyone.
Farron is entitled to his views on gay sex - whatever they may be. Assuming he does not indulge in hate speech, he is entitled to express himself openly, to campaign and build support for his vision. He's equally entitled to duck the issue, or tell barefaced lies. However, and this is crucial, as politician in a democracy he should be scrutinised, and held to account.
A period of cohabitation with what could very well be a Républicains prime minister would not only be a major setback for Macron but also represent a further opportunity to grow for the French far-right. Le Pen may have been defeated in Sunday's presidential election, but Front National and their increasingly loyal supporters are only getting started.
Many ask how can we resist the rising tide of nationalism and populism around the world? Is resistance possible when extremists pre-empt condemnation of their failures, by blaming enemies within and without? Theresa May this week declared war on Brussels and prominent Leave supporters on social media have started blaming Remainers for Brexit failures to come.
Following Brexit and Trump's victory in the US, many feared Europe would fall prey to Eurosceptic, nationalist, and protectionist populists. The coming French elections should be regarded as the most important populist test and the defining European political battle this year.
While these elections confirmed that populists still find it difficult to impossible to win in the classical sense (and head governments), they also delivered a pyrrhic victory for those wishing to stop the rise of far-right populists.
On 13th October 2015, I crossed the border from Croatia to Hungary, along with hundreds of refugees travelling northwards
Central European social democratic parties haven't been so lucky, however, and PvdA's dismal defeat shows the grim future facing the centre-left in multi-party systems. With PvdA set to spend the next parliamentary term away from the action on the backbenches and the French Socialist Party likely to suffer a similar fate in the upcoming presidential and legislative elections, social democracy has collapsed into a deep hole from which it may never be able to escape.