Notes From the Margins…
Posts for UK politics Category
The Exterminating Brexit

The Exterminating Brexit

  • April 02, 2019
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In Luis Buñuel’s surrealist masterpiece The Exterminating Angel, a group of bourgeois party-goers go out to dinner only to find out for some mysterious reason that they can’t leave. No one is actually stopping them, it’s just that the guests can’t seem to get out of the house.

Is it a spell?  Is it collective hysteria or herd instinct?  No one knows, and Bunuel doesn’t explain.  Instead he amuses himself – and us – by stripping away the veneer of civilisation and gentility from his aristocratic guests.

Gradually they become more and more desperate.  One elderly...

A Plague of Bastards

A Plague of Bastards

  • March 28, 2019
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If it’s true that people get the kind of politicians they deserve, then the British public must have sinned a great deal.  Just take a look at the events of the last few days.  On Monday, as readers of this blog may remember, Boris Johnson began the week on the front page of the Daily...

Go Down Brexit

Go Down Brexit

  • March 25, 2019
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‘Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one,’ wrote Charles Mackay in his  classic nineteenth century compendium of human folly Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. 

Despite the two-week postponement of...

Lexit: the Disaster Utopia

Lexit: the Disaster Utopia

  • March 21, 2019
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There is in every society , and at every historical period, a yearning for collapse and calamity – or at least a fascination with these possibilities.  Our fascination with things falling apart is sometimes based on a vague awareness that the prospect of disaster is never as far away as we think.  But there is...

One Nation Under a Gove

One Nation Under a Gove

  • March 14, 2019
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Whenever I hear politicians invoke ‘ the national interest’ I tend to reach for the metaphorical salt cellar.  It’s not that I don’t believer there is such a thing, but ‘the national interest’ is one of those empty box phrases, like ‘national security’ or ‘the public interest’ that politicians can fill with whatever they want,...

England Kaputt

England Kaputt

  • March 09, 2019
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As I write it’s now exactly 20 days, 8 hours and 32 minutes until the UK leaves the European Union.   At 11 pm GMT on 29 March, unless parliament somehow finds a unity of purpose next week that it has not shown for nearly three years,  all EU rules and regulations will instantly cease to...

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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