It’s been an interesting year – but before we take a look at the developments here in Ireland, let’s review what happened on the world stage.
In the United States passed another year of highly entertaining political drama. Tension seemed to increase as the year went on, ending with the controversy around Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the midterm elections shortly afterward and a whole host of resignations in the Trump Administration. As of yet there is no Mexico border wall, and Trump has been slow to fulfil his other campaign promises – if he wants to be re-elected in 2020 he’s going to need to get to work.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was re-elected with a considerable margin and his country continues its economic recovery, with massive investment beginning in the areas of health, infrastructure and science – also hypersonic nuclear weapons and lasers. Its hosting of the 2018 world cup was widely lauded as one of the best in the history of the contest, and gave an opportunity to people from around the globe to experience a country much maligned by the media.
Europe saw a populist government elected in Italy, with Lega’s immensely popular Matteo Salvini now certainly the most powerful man in the country. So far, it has been a success. Other right-wing nationalists saw gains across the continent, from Hungary to Sweden. The Yellow Vest movement put the fear of god into France’s smarmy globalist president and could yet spread. Surprisingly Brazil seems on track to fix its dire situation with the election of nationalist Jair Bolsonaro. Brexit continues to be a shambolic farce.
In economic news, the trade war between the US and China has been dominating the scene, with unclear consequences for both nations at the moment. Turkey has been a poor-performer as has most of Western Europe. Eastern Europe on the other hand experienced solid growth. The faux-boom continues here in Ireland.
Arguably 2018 has seen a decrease in global conflict. Ukraine’s civil war remains frozen, while the Syrian civil war is calming down. The Russia-Iran-Syria-Hezbollah alliance has put an end to Islamic State and most other jihadist groups in the region. Relations between North Korea and the United States warmed after a historical summit between their leaders. Saudi Arabia however continues its brutal illegal war in Yemen.
Worryingly, birthrates have been on the decline almost everywhere in the world except Africa this year, meaning demographics continues to be the number one concern for the continued survival of human civilisation. South Korea became the first major nation to drop beneath a Total Fertility Rate of one child per woman. Ireland experienced another decrease in births this year, now leaving us well below the replacement rate.
Now back to the homefront. We’ve had an interesting year to say the least – not something I’d usually say about Irish current affairs. The most important event was undoubtedly the repeal of the eighth amendment of our constitution, allowing abortion to be legalised. As sad as it is that there is no longer constitutional protection for the unborn, the result was inevitable and expected. It represented the final nail in the coffin for Ireland’s old order, showing just how much the country has changed.
However, now that the issue is over the political Right in Ireland will be able to move on and build something new. For too long was the Irish Right a mix of Sunday Mass attendees and retirement home occupants. It was tarnished by the shadow of the Catholic Church and its sins, rendering it toothless and unappealing to the general population.
Indeed, we can hardly say we ever had a real Right-wing, and certainly not a nationalist one. At best it was religious conservatism and at worst it was anglophone free-marketism completely out of touch with Irish history and culture.
The final death of this old order in the year of 2018 has allowed us to build something new. 2018 was really the first year that Irish people began to delve into nationalism and populism, even if it remains in small numbers. A year ago The Burkean had just begun. Now we have people like Dave Cullen, Grand Torino and Gemma O’Doherty addressing the important questions of the day. A new alternative media and political sphere has been born, hopefully it will grow and professionalise in 2019.
Not only is new media now alive and well in Ireland, but new political alternatives are developing. The National Party continues to grow and has been leafleting around the country. Renua seems to have finally found a voice and an identity, manifesting itself as proudly conservative and nationalist, though whether they can escape their legacy remains to be seen. We even saw the founding of the Irexit party, promising to take us out of the European Union. Whether you support one of these new parties or not, it can only be a good thing that we finally have alternatives.
It hasn’t been all good though, Irish citizenship continues to be handed out like there’s no tomorrow, creating swathes of ‘paper Irish’ and further exacerbating the housing crisis. Asylum centres are springing up all over the countryside, causing havoc wherever they go. The UN migration pact was signed by our government without so much as a whisper from the mainstream media. Brexit threatens to throw the economy into chaos, and the spineless leadership of Fianna Fáil have promised to keep the confidence & supply agreement in place.
Nonetheless I would argue it has been a positive year overall. People across the country and the world finally seem to be wising up to the realities of the modern world and looking for alternatives. As they say; it is always darkest before the dawn.
If one thing is for sure, it is that the conflict between globalism and nationalism, ideology and reality, continues to escalate. 2019 will be an important year for us all.