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Posts for Migration Category
Christian Petzold’s Transit: Fascism in the Present

Christian Petzold’s Transit: Fascism in the Present

  • August 23, 2019
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Last night I went to see Christian Petzold’s Transit.  It’s a beguiling, enigmatic and haunting film, which cleverly inserts the history of the German occupation of France into present-day France, in a tale of one man’s attempt to flee safety through Marseilles by adopting a false identity as a writer.  Based on the 1942 novel Transit by the German writer Anna Seghers,  the film never refers to Nazism directly.

There is no Gestapo, no occupying troops or Nazi iconography.  The police the characters are fleeing from are contemporary French police who might be carrying out...

The Tony Blair Guide to Fighting Fascism

The Tony Blair Guide to Fighting Fascism

  • April 22, 2019
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There is no doubt that the resurgence of far-right populist politics across the world poses a direct threat to the rights and safety of migrants and minorities, to the future of democratic coexistence, and to the future of the nation-state as a  multicultural and multiethnic space.

Now no less an intellectual authority than Tony Blair has...

Rootless Cosmopolitans

Rootless Cosmopolitans

  • April 09, 2019
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Readers of this blog will know that I’m not a great fan of the pro-Brexit Left that goes under the portmanteau Lexit.  But there are various kinds of Lexit.  There are those who make compelling and accurate criticisms of the failings of the EU that I actually agree with.  To my mind, such...

Immigration: Stop Pandering

Immigration: Stop Pandering

  • February 02, 2019
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If there is one thing British politicians always seem able to agree on, it’s that they must respond to public concerns about immigration.

Rarely, if ever, do the politicians who seek to placate these concerns consider their validity.  Is it true that Romanians and Bulgarians are all poor and therefore likely to be criminals – an...

Small Island: A Brief History of British Immigration ‘Concerns’

Small Island: A Brief History of British Immigration ‘Concerns’

  • January 18, 2019
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Politicians tend to defer almost as a matter of course to popular ‘concerns’ about immigration, as though they were a novel reaction to the unprecedented 21st century phenomenon of ‘mass immigration’.

But these ‘concerns’ are actually part of a longer historical tradition, in which racist and xenophobic prejudices have been attached to different groups of people, in...

Our Man in Budapest

Our Man in Budapest

  • January 12, 2019
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As a general rule, whenever politicians tell you that they want to protect your culture or your civilisation with walls and fences, it’s a good idea to pat your wallet and check that it’s still there.

One minute you’re staring into their eyes and nodding approvingly as they tell you that your heritage and your identity...

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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