Notes From the Margins…
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Does Work Make You Free?

  • April 16, 2014
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Work is good for you.     We know this because our politicians never cease to remind us of the fact.   Whether singing the virtues of ‘hard-working families’, or introducing punitive benefits caps and sanctions in an attempt to ‘get people back to work’ or ‘make work pay’, they constantly present work not simply as a way of making money, but as a morally-uplifting and virtuous activity in itself.

This was the implicit meaning of David Cameron’s response to Archbishop Vincent Nichols in February, when Nichols denounced the ‘destitution’ caused by Coalition’s ‘punitive’ welfare...

Egypt’s Trial of the Century

  • March 26, 2014
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How many Egyptians does it take to kill one policeman?   Exactly 529, if they are members of the Muslim Brotherhood, according to Judge Saeed Elgazar.     That is the number of people Elgazar sentenced to death two days ago for the killing of a deputy police commander in the southern Egyptian city of...

Ukip Flying Saucers Invade Earth

  • March 21, 2014
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I’ve just been watching   the ‘science fiction video’ produced by Ukip in Bradford.   Written and ‘directed’ by Ukip Bradford and District chairman Jason Smith, it’s a chilling and bleak testament to the intellectual and moral vacuum that his party would like to drag the country into – and also to the fantasy vision...

Mark Harper Falls on His Plastic Sword

  • February 11, 2014
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Politicians on all sides have been falling over themselves to praise former Immigration Minister Mark Harper for his ‘honourable’ decision to resign, following the discovery that his cleaner was an ‘illegal immigrant.’   Harper’s colleagues, all of them honourable men and women themselves, have been been at pains to point out how correct and even...

Edward Snowden: Shooting the Messenger

  • January 07, 2014
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Journalists whose careers are based on the faithful reproduction of the views of governments and institutions more powerful than themselves are rarely enthusiastic about whistleblowers.

Faced with people who actually take risks to confront and expose the lies and deceptions of the powerful that they themselves either don’t see or prefer to ignore, it is has...

Policing the Crisis

  • December 17, 2013
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The Spanish parliament is currently debating a draconian ‘Citizen Security Bill’   that will introduce fines of up to 600,000 euros for attendance at unauthorized street protests and demonstrations.     Among other things, demonstrators will face fines for ‘insulting’ or making ‘false accusations’ against public officials and state institutions.

The bill will also ban protests...

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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