Why political extremism will stay in the headlines
With immigration and terrorism adding to the economic woes, Dan O'Brien assesses Europe's politics throughout 2015
Can the democratic centre hold in Europe in the face of economic crisis, grinding austerity, mass immigration and hyper terrorism? In the seven years since the western world plunged into the worst economic crisis in almost a century, and from which very few countries have fully recovered, extreme political parties and movements have gained support.
This column has long argued that the most significant trend in post-crash European politics has been hostility towards incumbent governments, and that support for non-mainstream and/or extreme parties and movements has been a lesser, and often exaggerated, trend.
But that is not to downplay the risks of the extremist threat, or what is at stake. The democratic compromise is eternally fragile and can never be taken for granted. All societies have their breaking points.