Notes From the Margins…
Posts for UK politics Category
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 seek some kind of moral uplift from their imagined greatness, and take a peculiar satisfaction from looking down on the rest of the world and imagining that everyone else is looking up to them.

Generally speaking, national greatness is associated...

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...

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...

Comrade Johnson: When Boris Met Sasha

Comrade Johnson: When Boris Met Sasha

  • July 22, 2019
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On the eve of Boris Johnson’s coronation as PM, I have a counterfactual for you, readers.

Imagine that we’re in 2015 in the middle of the Labour Party leadership contest.   All polls suggest that Jeremy Corbyn is going to win.  Only days before his inevitable election a Reuters reporter publishes a story alleging that Corbyn is...

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...

The Brexit Party: All Men Shall (Not) Be Brothers

The Brexit Party: All Men Shall (Not) Be Brothers

  • July 04, 2019
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In case anyone ever doubts what a sad, petty and downright nasty country we are becoming, the Brexit Party will always be there to remind us.  On Monday, they managed to stage a mighty protest by turning their backs – turning their backs I tell you! – on a young orchestra playing Beethoven’s...

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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