Notes From the Margins…
Posts for UK politics Category

Bordergate: Act II

  • November 16, 2011
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The plot thickens regarding the ‘Bordergate’ scandal.  Yesterday the outgoing chief of the UK Border Agency Brodie Clark and UKBA’s new executive director Rob Whiteman gave what were essentially incompatible versions of the same events to parliament.

Clark denied suggestions that he was a ‘rogue officer’ and insisted that last summer’s relaxed border checks had Home Office authorisation.   He also pointed out what congestion at ports and airports really means ie. that on fifty-seven occasions planes were unable to land because of the long queues at airports.

This is somewhat different from Melanie...

The Daily Mail: Feasting on Bile

  • November 10, 2011
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It’s always pleasant to see a reactionary government  hanging by its own petard when it tries to play the immigration card, but the UK Border Agency ‘relaxed border controls’ pseudo-scandal encapsulates so much that is toxic about  the  British ‘debate’ on immigration that the  frisson wears off quite quickly.

First we have  a Coalition government which...

Let squatters squat!

  • October 28, 2011
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It won’t be news to many people that there is a housing and homelessness crisis in the UK, but a few statistics are worth considering to remind ourselves of the dimensions of the problem.

According to the homelessness action group Crisis, 400,000 single people are homeless, and living in B&Bs, squats, or the floors of family...

Home Office Shock Exclusive: the Poor Exist

  • October 25, 2011
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The Home Office’s statistics about last summer’s riots make interesting reading, especially if we remind ourselves of some of the more crazed political and media analysis that accompanied these events, such as this vent about the rioters from  Max Hastings in the Mail:

They are essentially wild beasts. I use that phrase advisedly, because it seems...

Cameron reclaims ‘our borders’ (again)

  • October 11, 2011
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Having failed to win the nation over with his condemnations of Britain’s ‘sogginess’ and lack of backbone at the Tory Conference of the Damned,  David Cameron yesterday delivered  yet another ‘major speech’ on immigration, which  set new standards of populist rabble-rousing.

As always this latest intervention was dressed up  as a courageous and...

Britain Plays Happy Families

  • October 09, 2011
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There’s a grim article in today’s Independent on  an ongoing survey into work and relationships in Britain by the Working Families and One Plus One charities, called Happy Homes, Productive Workplaces, whose preliminary findings include

A culture of “downsizing”, where long working hours and job insecurity have become the norm, is leading to a “vicious cycle”...

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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