23 december 2016, 2016. Fool stop.

I thought I'd get in early with my "2016, what a year !". So: 2016, what a year ! I predicted it would be the year of leaving (see 1 january 2016). Sad to say I was right, though my crystal ball didn't extend across the atlantic (though my other half's did). John oliver and the rest of us can outrage all we want, but here we are, with that incredible photo of farage in trump's gold lift the photo of the era. This is who we are now. Whilst there isn't, nor is there likely to be, any imminent catastrophe, history has turning points. This was one, and it will have consequences. 1995 was one, at least in my corner of the middle east. When rabin was shot and peres (see 29 september, below) then lost the election to netanyahu, the can-do momentum of oslo, towards a two-state solution, was lost. Slowly but decisively, lobster in a pot style, the direction of travel changed, towards one-state permanence of occupation that 500,000 settlers later we have today. 2016 feels like that. European integration's momentum may have been faltering since 2008, but this year it was existentially-challenged, by refugees from afar and populists from close. That they won in britain meant they could win elsewhere too, confirming this as a decade of stagnation for europe, at best. In britain, brexit demolished labour (see 19 november below). Again, the faltering went back far earlier, but this was the year of crystallisation, from which there looks no turning back from a decade of conservative governments. For today's world, trump raises so many slowburn issues (balkans, anyone ?). It won't take much retreat by america from its role at the centre of a fragile lattice for that world to sag and gentle rips to grow. No other american president has taken office believing the postwar world order washington constructed is one that does not serve america's interests but does it down. It's hard to see 2017 being any better.