Notes From the Margins…
Posts for Antiracism Category
You Clap for Me: A Celebration and a Warning

You Clap for Me: A Celebration and a Warning

  • April 16, 2020
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It seems a long time ago, back in the days when ‘normal’ still existed, that we didn’t think much of immigrants in this country – especially the ‘unskilled’ kind.  In those days we learned week in and week out from our newspapers and from many of our politicians, that immigrants were a burden on ‘our’ schools and NHS.  We heard that they were stealing British jobs, that they were being ‘shipped in’ in order to undercut British workers.

We heard that they came here as ‘health tourists’ in order to access health care that they...

Beware the Lies of March

Beware the Lies of March

  • March 29, 2020
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In difficult times, it’s comforting and perhaps essential to believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s also wise to bear in mind that there are always alternative possibilities. Historical tragedies are not like novels or theatrical tragedies.  They don’t come with redemptive endings or instructive moral messages.  They do...

Going Viral

Going Viral

  • March 11, 2020
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There is no good time for a pandemic, but some historical moments are definitely worse than others.  The coronavirus has erupted in a world dominated by nationalist rightwing populist politics with an authoritarian/fascistic tinge, many of which draw their support from fears and phobias about globalisation, or ‘globalism’ as the far-right call it, that are...

Brexit:  Springtime for Racists

Brexit: Springtime for Racists

  • February 03, 2020
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For anyone seeking inspiration in these dark times, I recommend the moving Storyville documentary My Italian Secret:  Italy’s Forgotten Heroes.  It tells the story of the Italian cyclist Gino Bartali and the Italians who saved more than 10,000 Jews from Nazi extermination during World War 2, by hiding them or smuggling them to safety.   Like...

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...

Stand With the Squad

Stand With the Squad

  • July 17, 2019
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Yesterday, in yet another of the dismal milestones that the Trump administration continues to carve into American political history, the US House of Representatives voted 240-187 to condemn the President of the United States for making racist statements.    This unprecedented rebuke followed Trump’s Twitter attack on the four recently-elected Democrat Congresswomen, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria...

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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