Notes From the Margins…
Posts for UK politics Category
Of Cats and Dogs

Of Cats and Dogs

  • August 31, 2021
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Given the scale of the disaster unfolding in Kabul right now, it might seem a little frivolous to write about Paul ‘Penn’ Farthing, the ex-Marine Sergeant and founder of the Nowzad animal rescue charity, who has just arrived back in the UK on a plane filled with cats and dogs – and no people.

So let me explain.  I have great affection for cats and dogs, but I don’t feel any particular joy in the fact that Farthing managed to get his rescue animals safely out of Afghanistan.

Of course I’m glad the animals weren’t shot...

Imperial Sunset on the Rocks Please

Imperial Sunset on the Rocks Please

  • August 18, 2021
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Some empires take a long time to die.  The Roman Empire was already in decline centuries before the final collapse of the Western Empire in c.376-476.   By the end of the seventeenth century the weaknesses of the Spanish/Hapsburg Empire that spanned Europe and Latin America from the late fifteenth century onwards were already apparent, but...

In the Court of the Brexit King

In the Court of the Brexit King

  • March 21, 2021
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If there’s one important lesson about politics that tends too often to go unlearned, it’s this: You don’t need to be a genius or a titan to take power and use that power for malign purposes.  In Alfred Jarry’s play Ubu Roi – a surreal parody of Macbeth – the  foulmouthed, halfwitted childlike slob Pere Ubu massacres...

Ursula in Blunderland

Ursula in Blunderland

  • January 31, 2021
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At first sight, the government of a country that has just reached the grim figure of 100,000 covid-related deaths and the third highest per capita covid death rate in the world shouldn’t have much to celebrate.  Yet a poll this week suggests that  Johnson and his cabinet-of-the-damned have gained four points, bringing its potential vote...

The Lie Machine

The Lie Machine

  • January 23, 2021
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Political lying is not a new phenomenon, but there are many different kinds of political lies.  There are lies that governments tell their populations in order to achieve specific objectives in war and diplomacy.  There are up-front, out-loud lies based on the invention of facts, and  lies that are achieved through the concealment and obfuscation...

Jelly on a (Tory) Plate

Jelly on a (Tory) Plate

  • January 12, 2021
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Some readers may be ancient enough to remember certain mathematics textbooks that asked you to calculate your weekly grocery bills, or how long it would take four men to dig a hole in road.  I was reminded of these exercises today, when I saw the following tweet from @RoadsideMum about the package she had received...

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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