Earlier this week President Vladimir Putin announced plans to amend Russia's constitution so he will, when he is obliged to stand down as president in 2024, retain power. Moscow's parliament was informed though not consulted on measures that mean Putin's two decades of autocracy will not end when he resigns.
As the Brexit bandwagon continues to trundle along towards October 31 and as the Minister for Finance prepares to deliver in just over a month, what is most likely to be the final budget before the ‘confidence and supply’ arrangement comes to a welcome end, it was never more important for Ireland to keep a very close eye on international developments.
In an increasingly polarised world, the battlelines are all too obvious — and hardening. The rise of Trump, Orban, Putin, Ergodan and the Brexiteers’ coup bewilders those who cling to the belief that post-WWII liberal values still have transformative, positive possibilities.
It is nearly always the case that when a society, or even a section of society, take to the streets to oppose autocracy, the usual cheering from a distant, safe sideline is quickly tempered by prudent apprehension. There are too many examples of human aspiration crushed by brook-no-argument force.
Just one more night and everything will all go back to normal. Introverts, humbugs and knackered livers can exhale, for the seasonal hullabaloo is drawing to a close. But what is normal in 2019? What can we expect? It appears Brexit will be the least of it. Should we get bunker building?