Notes From the Margins…
Posts for Brexit Category
The Strange Tale of the Disappearing Country

The Strange Tale of the Disappearing Country

  • September 22, 2019
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I’ve been abroad in the Pyrenees for nearly three weeks now and it was, as it always is these days, a huge relief to be away from these septic isles.  Of course you don’t forget them.  Nowadays, you take Brexit with you in your mental baggage, even if you never meant to pack it.  It’s the political equivalent of Don DeLillo’s Airborne Toxic Event.   It hovers over your country like a black cloud and a harbinger of worse things to come.

It shapes the way you look at your country, and the perplexed and faintly...

We Could Be Heroes (Just for No Deal)

We Could Be Heroes (Just for No Deal)

  • September 01, 2019
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We have heard a great deal of stirring talk from Brexiters about World War 2 these last few years.  It might be Boris Johnson comparing Francois Holland to a  Colditz prison guard dealing out ‘punishment beatings’ to the UK in 2017, or condemning MPs as ‘collaborators’ with the EU in his Facebook video last month.

In...

Chronicle of a Coup Foretold

Chronicle of a Coup Foretold

  • August 29, 2019
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Today, after weeks of hints, denials, and rumours, the UK has lurched closer towards constitutional and political collapse when the Boris Johnson government announced that it would ask the Queen to suspend parliament in the second week of September, and reconvene with a Queen’s Speech a month later, on 14 October. Many people have seen...

No Deal:  All the Demons are Here

No Deal: All the Demons are Here

  • August 19, 2019
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There was a time when Halloween or All Hallows Eve was not much celebrated in the UK.   Now children up and down the country merrily celebrate the liminal point where the boundaries between the living and the dead dissolve, where witches, ghosts and spirits briefly walk the earth,  when ‘Halloween wraps fear in innocence’ in...

From Brexit to Trump: The Incredible Shrinking Countries

From Brexit to Trump: The Incredible Shrinking Countries

  • August 11, 2019
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I’m not much of a fan of the concept of ‘national greatness’.  It’s not I don’t think that nations can have qualities and achievements worthy of pride and admiration.  But the concept of national greatness is almost always steeped in a collective narcissism and national chauvinism that I find unedifying and inherently repellent.

Its proponents often...

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...

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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