Notes From the Margins…
Posts by Matt
Ahmet Altan’s Freedom Song

Ahmet Altan’s Freedom Song

  • August 04, 2019
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There have been many times in my life, particularly during these last few years, when I have doubted my vocation as a writer.  Faced with the rise of populism, ‘post-truth’ politics, churnalism, nationalist demagoguery, and the shallowness and hysteria that so often underpins 21st century politics, it’s tempting in one’s more despondent moments to conclude...

Meghan Markle’s Vogue

Meghan Markle’s Vogue

  • August 01, 2019
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It’s safe to say that readers of the Infernal Machine probably don’t come here looking for coverage of the Royal Family or fashion.  Despite my own well-deserved reputation for discreet sartorial elegance, I generally don’t read Vogue magazine unless I come across old copies at the dentists.   It’s true that I was surprisingly engrossed by...

Burn Baby Burn

Burn Baby Burn

  • July 28, 2019
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There are many reasons to despise and resist the rightwing ‘populist’ politics that are poisoning democracies across the world in the second decade of the 21st century.  The racism and white supremacism that so often underpins these movements; the dehumanisation of immigrants; the authoritarianism; the deep seam of dishonesty if not outright corruption that so...

Johnson and His Cabinet:  A Confederacy of Bastards

Johnson and His Cabinet: A Confederacy of Bastards

  • July 25, 2019
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Watching Netflix’s documentary The Great Hack last night, I was struck by the ‘Breibart philosophy’ ascribed by one of its contributors to Steve Bannon, to the effect that it is necessary to destroy and break countries in order to be able to rebuild them on Bannonite lines.

Yesterday marks another milestone in our ongoing collapse as...

Comrade Johnson: When Boris Met Sasha

Comrade Johnson: When Boris Met Sasha

  • July 22, 2019
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On the eve of Boris Johnson’s coronation as PM, I have a counterfactual for you, readers.

Imagine that we’re in 2015 in the middle of the Labour Party leadership contest.   All polls suggest that Jeremy Corbyn is going to win.  Only days before his inevitable election a Reuters reporter publishes a story alleging that Corbyn is...

“Running Around Like Idiots”: Britain’s Brexit Crisis

“Running Around Like Idiots”: Britain’s Brexit Crisis

  • July 19, 2019
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“The weight of this sad time we must obey/Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say,” declares Goneril’s husband the Duke of Albany at the end of King Lear, as the body of the old king is taken away.  Given the carnage, corruption, madness, vanity and greed that has preceded this observation, Albany’s...

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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