Notes From the Margins…
Shamima Begum and the Quality of Mercy

Shamima Begum and the Quality of Mercy

  • February 17, 2019
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What is mercy?   The Oxford Dictionary defines it as ‘ compassion or forgiveness shown towards someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.’  This definition highlights the essential component of mercy, which is forbearance and leniency from a position of power and authority.

This concept is well-established in various religious traditions.  The Quran declares:...

The TaxPayers’ Alliance:  Your Toxic Solutions

The TaxPayers’ Alliance: Your Toxic Solutions

  • February 14, 2019
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It’s been known for some time, for those who want to look, that the lobbying organisation the Taxpayers’ Alliance is not what it says it is.  On its website the TPA presents itself as a ‘non-partisan, grassroots campaign for lower taxes, government transparency and an end to wasteful government spending.

Founded in 2003  by Matthew Elliott –...

Guest Post:  Catalonia, the Trials of Shame

Guest Post: Catalonia, the Trials of Shame

  • February 11, 2019
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This week the first trials of Catalan government officials, politicians, parliamentarians, police officials and civic activists for charges relating to the 1 October 2017 independence referendum begin in Madrid.  This is a guest post from my good friend Andreu Jené, giving a Catalan perspective on these events, with my translation.

Cartoon credit:  Paco Santero 

 

Tomorrow the first...

All the Devils Are Here

All the Devils Are Here

  • February 09, 2019
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It’s been a hell of a week, hasn’t it?   It’s fine for us to compare the EU to Hitler, the Soviet Union, the mafia, and a dictatorship.  It’s ok to accuse the EU of torturing us by ‘administering punishment beatings’, as the sixth form yob who bizarrely became our last foreign secretary once declared.

It was...

Drill Baby Drill: Donald Trump’s Sociopathic Gaze

Drill Baby Drill: Donald Trump’s Sociopathic Gaze

  • February 07, 2019
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There are many reasons why the rise of populist ethnonationalism and authoritarianism is bad news.   But one reason which tends to receive little attention is the impact of this phenomenon on the environment.

For some time now, we have become accustomed – too accustomed – to a relentless stream of alarming reports on the future of...

Turning Point:  All the Young (Alt-Right) Dudes

Turning Point: All the Young (Alt-Right) Dudes

  • February 05, 2019
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As we sleepwalk towards the Brexit iceberg on 29 March, we should remember that the hardright ‘populists’  who have been dreaming of this outcome for so long don’t see it as an end, but as part of an ongoing process.

For some of them it’s a famous victory in a wider ethnonationalist assault on the international...

About Me

I’m a writer, campaigner and journalist.  My latest book is The Savage Frontier: The Pyrenees in History and the Imagination (New Press/Hurst, 2018).  The Infernal Machine is where I write on politics, history, cinema and other things that interest me.

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