Notes From the Margins…
Posts for UK politics Category
2018: The Year of the Missing Unicorn

2018: The Year of the Missing Unicorn

  • December 30, 2018
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In her study of  the ‘pursuit of policy contrary to self-interest’ from Troy to Vietnam The March of Folly, Barbara Tuchman once noted that ‘Wooden-headedness, the source of self-deception, is a factor that plays a remarkably large role in government. It consists in assessing a situation in terms of preconceived fixed notions while ignoring or rejecting any contrary signs.’

This willingness to rely on ‘fixed notions’ has been a persistent thread in the Brexit process that has unfolded so dismally before us for the last 2.5 years.  It was already present during the Referendum campaign...

The Infernal Machine: the Relaunch!

The Infernal Machine: the Relaunch!

  • December 29, 2018
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Hello world!  It’s been a while since I posted on this site, and I must apologize to my regular readers for my prolonged absence.  I haven’t been here for a number of reasons.  Firstly, I simply didn’t have time.  There is only so much of an average day that you can spend writing, and I...

The Resistible Rise of Saint Tommy

The Resistible Rise of Saint Tommy

  • June 13, 2018
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It’s been a strange year for Tommy Robinson, aka Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, the founder of the English Defense League. In February, he was cited as a key influence on the Finsbury Mosque attacker, Darren Osbourne. At the end of March, he was banned from Twitter. In April, he led a ‘free speech’ demonstration in London that...

Corbyn’s Migrant Failure

Corbyn’s Migrant Failure

  • March 11, 2018
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Jeremy Corbyn’s speech to the Scottish Labour Party conference last week has drawn a lot of criticism from the SNP and others, for appearing to attack and blame migrants for the UK’s economic woes.  Corbyn’s defenders have naturally rejected these charges.  Paul Mason has dismissed the criticisms of Corbyn to the ‘pro-SNP media’,  whatever that...

Fantasy Island

Fantasy Island

  • February 28, 2018
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I haven’t written anything on this site for a while now.  It’s actually rather difficult to know what to write when confronted with the astonishing spectacle of national self-destruction that is unfolding in front of our eyes.  Nowadays hardly a day passes without another  reminder that the UK has entered a new political dimension in which...

1 Day Without Us: Let’s Have a Different Conversation About Migration

1 Day Without Us: Let’s Have a Different Conversation About Migration

  • January 04, 2018
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The One Day Without Us campaign came into existence in the autumn of 2016, out of a conversation on Facebook. We were migrants, EU citizens and UK nationals, all of whom were appalled by the shocking increase in anti-migrant hate crime on the streets, by the scapegoating of migrants in the media and on social...

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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