British prime minister David Cameron and Taoiseach Enda Kenny at Stormont House with Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers, Tánaiste Joan Burton and Minister of State Seán Sherlock. Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters

‘Out! Out! Out!” Margaret Thatcher’s summary dismissal of the New Ireland Forum’s options for a unitary, federal/confederal or jointly administered Ir(...)

‘Water becomes a symbol of more general disenchantment with the political system and how it works.’ Above, an anti water charges protest march, in O’Connell Street, Dublin, earlier this year. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Why has it taken so long for Irish people to protest in public against austerity? How do the latest street protests here against water charges and oth(...)

‘Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian profile has been sharply ratcheted up this year, pursuing critics and opponents into an expanding gulag of political prisons.’  Above, Putin addresses the Federal Assembly, at the Kremlin in Moscow, this week. Photograph: Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters

It’s been a very bad week for Vladimir Putin. The rouble recorded its biggest recent fall against the dollar, the tumbling price of oil further squeez(...)

Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones

‘Carwyn Jones is in step with Welsh public opinion but he is out of step with the Labour Party mainstream”. This characterisation of the Welsh first m(...)

‘Led by Pablo Iglesias,  Podemus draws substantial support from the young unemployed, precariat graduates, participants in the associated Indignados social movement and from a much wider constituency disgusted with the corruption scandals afflicting the two main parties.’   Photograph: REUTERS/Andrea Comas

Precarious, precarity, precariat. These words trace a journey from the adjective meaning insecure and vulnerable, through a society in which such cond(...)

A convoy of East German cars queue up at Unter den Linden avenue in East Berlin before crossing the border line under the Brandenburg Gate into West Berlin as a result of the opening of the Berlin Wall on November 11th, 1989. Photograph: Derrick Ceyrac/AFP/ Getty Images

‘We are pleased that German unification is taking place under a European roof”. These words from the conclusions of the European Communities summit in(...)

 ‘The Scottish referendum campaign on independence hardened public support for all powers of taxation and spending to be held there, with only foreign affairs and defence exercised through Westminster.’ Photograph: Mike Wilkinson/Bloomberg News

The United Kingdom faces a dual sovereignty problem over the next decade as its government and peoples choose how to deliver on the promise to give de(...)

‘Most of the two to four million irregular migrants in Europe have lost their documented status because of exploitation, administrative delays or misinformation rather than because they have broken any law.’ Above, migrants arriving at Porto Empedocle in Sicily after being rescued approximately  40km off the Libyian coast by a Dutch freighter the Dinteldijk. Photograph: Frank Miller / The Irish Times

It matters what we call the millions of migrants struggling to enter or stay in Europe out of despair over conflicts and persecutions in their homelan(...)

‘Other voices in this debate are more optimistic about the corporate, market and technological means of change even if equally convinced there is only 15-20 years to execute it.’ The rally against climate change in Times Square, New York, last weekend. Photograph: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

The hundreds of thousands of protesters demanding action against climate change who marched in New York last Sunday were joined by smaller groups in a(...)

‘The main question at issue in next Thursday’s referendum  is whether voters decide that statehood is a necessary step towards that condition or whether it can be achieved by radically reconfiguring the UK after a No vote.’ Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Scotland is on a journey towards post-sovereign interdependence with the United Kingdom, Ireland and the European Union. The main question at issue in(...)