Notes From the Margins…
Posts for Age of austerity Category

’tis the Season to be Hateful

  • December 28, 2013
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Some years ago I read that Charles Dickens would sometimes pay tramps to sit outside his house on Christmas Day, so that he and his carousing guests could enjoy the cosy domestic pleasures of the Victorian hearth even more, by contrasting it with the poverty and deprivation just outside his front door.

I’ve never managed to discover whether that story is true or not, and I initially thought in any case that it was an odd thing to do. But lately I’ve come to conclude that it isn’t that odd at all, because in a...

Lord Freud and Foodbanks: a Parable for Our Times

  • December 13, 2013
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Even by the dire standards set by the government, the Under-Secretary for Work and Pensions Lord David Freud, or Baron Freud of Eastry is a nasty piece of work.   Freud is Sigmund Freud’s great grandson, and the Great Man’s humanist genes have clearly not   filtered down to this callous apparatchik and Ian Duncan-Smith’s...

Cameron Explains Why Less is Always More

  • November 13, 2013
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Back in 2010, when this nightmare government came to power, David Cameron insisted that ‘austerity’ was a temporary response to the national emergency of ‘the deficit’ in a time of generalised economic crisis caused by the Coalition’s predecessors.

We were told lots of other things as well: that the Coalition’s cabinet of millionaires was moved by...

The Asylum Seeker Who Learned to Fly

  • November 06, 2013
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On a day when University College London’s Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration found that migrants had provided a £25 billion tax boost to the UK economy since 2000, the British tabloids had another story to tell.

It was a story that we have heard many times before, a grim and bitter tale of...

The Coalition’s Theatre of Cruelty

  • October 02, 2013
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Even amongst the strange collection of reactionary gargoyles in the Coalition, ‘Communities Minister’ Eric Pickles is a special case.   Like a horrible fusion of Dickensian villain, Toad of Toad Hall and one of the Aliens in Toy Story, this hard-faced, glassy-eyed heap of blubber emanates   a combination of dimness, callousness and malice that...

Europe, Golden Dawn and the Murder of an Anti-Fascist

  • September 21, 2013
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When the lords of austerity look down on the world from their parliaments and glass-fronted offices, they often look on the bright side.     Poverty, food kitchens, unemployment, the destruction of jobs and pensions, cuts in health and education, ‘social unrest’   – none of these things bother them too much as long as...

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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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