Notes From the Margins…
Posts for UK politics Category

Lord Snooty’s Eton Rifles

  • September 26, 2014
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By the time you get home from work today, parliament will have authorised the RAF to begin carrying out airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq.     It’s a campaign without any coherent strategic objectives or timescale.

It may last for months, years, or simply   ‘quite a long time’, according to Cameron’s latest less than precise estimate.   However long it lasts, one RAF source has warned us not to ‘expect fireworks’, which the BBC’s sage defence stenographer James Lansdale interprets to mean that we are in for a ‘long game.’

So the full...

At War Against Evil… Again

  • September 25, 2014
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With ‘reluctant warrior’ Barack Obama’s declaration of war against Islamic State, the United States has found another in a seemingly endless series of justifications for waging war in the Middle East.

In 1990/91 it was saving Kuwait.   In 2003 it was weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.   Last year it was the chemical weapons...

Scotland the Brave

  • September 22, 2014
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I was disappointed by the Scottish independence defeat on Thursday, particularly by such a wide margin, but nor was I entirely surprised by it.   The NO campaign was initially inept, detached and condescending about a result that its organizers took for granted, until the British political class and the media suddenly woke up to...

Islamic State and the Spectacle of Terror

Islamic State and the Spectacle of Terror

  • September 20, 2014
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In Don de Lillo’s 1991 novel Mao II, the writer-protagonist Bill Gray declares: “Years ago I thought it was possible for a novelist to alter the inner life of the culture.   Now bomb-makers and gunmen have taken over that territory.   They make raids on human consciousness.”

De Lillo was writing at a time when...

Caledonia Rising

  • September 16, 2014
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Whatever happens in Thursday’s referendum, the campaign has cast a grim spotlight on the venal and corrupt British state that so many Scots are eager to escape from.   Having spent much of the last two years complacently assuming that it could take the results for granted, the British political class has collectively set out...

Go Scotland Go!

  • September 09, 2014
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The spectre of an independent Scotland no longer haunts Westminster – as a result of the recent polls placing the Yes campaign in the lead, it has now reduced the British political class and the media to abject terror.

After months of complacency, condescension, hysteria, celebrity-driven Better Togetherness, sentimental paeans to Britishness and three hundred years...

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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