Notes From the Margins…
Posts for UK politics Category
In Praise of Political Correctness

In Praise of Political Correctness

  • May 01, 2019
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There was a time, in the Thatcher years, when the concept of ‘political correctness’ was used to de-legitimize the left and/or bring feminism and particularly antiracism into ridicule and disrepute.

Bliss was it to be alive in those days,  when the British yellow press regaled the nation with mostly invented stories about what ‘loony left’ councils were supposedly doing to combat racism and sexism.

This was a time when the gutter press sniggered at Hackney council for banning the word manhole as sexist; at Haringey council for replacing black dustbin liners with grey ones because the...

We the People

We the People

  • April 26, 2019
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There was a time when references to ‘the people’ or the ‘will of the people’ were a rarity in British politics, unless you went on leftist solidarity demos in solidarity with Nicaragua or El Salvador and knew enough Spanish to join in the stirring chant ‘El pueblo unido, jamás será vencido’ (the people, united, will...

We Need to Talk About Spiked

We Need to Talk About Spiked

  • April 23, 2019
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There was a time when I thought of Brendan O’Neill and the Spiked Online crowd as a freakish but curious anomaly in the British media.

Occasionally I wondered how a former leftist sect once known for publishing apologetics for war crimes was able to reinvent itself as a pseudo-contrarian thinktank peddling rightwing strawman arguments in order...

Breaking the Irish Peace

Breaking the Irish Peace

  • April 19, 2019
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Back in the early seventies there used to be a political postcard that depicted Northern Ireland trying to speak to an England that had a cork firmly in one ear.   Ulster – and indeed the whole of the island of Ireland – has often had difficulty in making itself heard in England.  Time and again...

Rootless Cosmopolitans

Rootless Cosmopolitans

  • April 09, 2019
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Readers of this blog will know that I’m not a great fan of the pro-Brexit Left that goes under the portmanteau Lexit.  But there are various kinds of Lexit.  There are those who make compelling and accurate criticisms of the failings of the EU that I actually agree with.  To my mind, such...

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...

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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