A spectre is haunting Europe: the spectre of the far-right. Right across the continent, extremist political parties are attracting millions of votes. They now have solid representation in national and European parliaments. They receive strong doses of, to use the words of the late Margaret Thatcher, ‘the oxygen of publicity’ from the media, and their leaders are regarded as having something important to say.

My university days were played out pre-Facebook and therefore documented only in photographs possessed by very few and viewed only by a chosen few. Life was certainly very social but not broadcast via any form of media. I had what was once called a ‘private life’, locked away for the most part in memories and nostalgic reminiscing.

As human beings we continue to grapple with the perennial existential questions. Why are we here? What is the purpose of human existence? What is the ultimate end of human life? What is human nature?

America became the world’s dominant power in no small part because of its original sin, and its Achilles heel is sourced from the same root: slavery and the racism it developed to justify it that still flourishes today.

An openly racist party with deep roots in France’s fascist tradition, the Front National (FN), won control of a dozen local authorities, in March 2014. Two months later it gained more seats than any other party in the European elections with a quarter of the vote.