Notes From the Margins…
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Disabled people: heroes or scapegoats?

  • August 30, 2012
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I wish the Paralympics well, but I can’t help noting a certain discrepancy between the celebration of the Games and the distinctly less celebratory attitudes towards the disabled that are prevalent in British society.

Yesterday David Cameron said that the Games will ‘inspire a lot of people and change people’s views on disability’.   This inspirational message is based on the rejection of the idea that disabled people are less important or less valuable members of society, and the triumphant testament to the human ability to overcome adversity.

All this is good and necessary.   But...

Money makes the (neo-imperial) world go round

  • August 21, 2012
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The ‘international community’ is making cautiously optimistic noises regarding the highly-selective attempts to conjure up a new government in Somalia.   The new parliamentary institutions are intended to replace the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) that Western governments and their African allies so disastrously supported both before and after the 2006 Ethiopian invasion.

Shadows continue to flit...

Putin versus Pussy Riot

  • August 06, 2012
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The ongoing trial of Russia’s feminist/punk provocateurs Pussy Riot is now approaching its denouement.

The three women face the prospect of seven years imprisonment for engaging in ‘hooliganism’ and having ‘ insulted in a sacrilegious manner the centuries-old foundations of the Russian Orthodox Church’.   These charges stem from the ‘punk performance’ in Moscow’s...

From BCCI to HSBC: the Age of Gangster Capitalism

  • July 24, 2012
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A long time ago, when words like globalisation and deregulation were still rumours on the political horizon, the Pakistani financier Agha Hasan Abedi founded the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI)     in 1972.     BCCI was originally intended to be a progressive international Third World bank that would compete...

Spain implodes and explodes

  • July 21, 2012
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Despite major surgical intervention and a major cash transfusion for its ailing banks, the Spanish patient is continuing to languish on the operating table and may not leave the hospital for some time.

A raft of ideologically-motivated austerity cuts from the vacillating and useless Conservative government has exacerbated Spain’s precarious condition, choking growth and provoking serious...

The Awesome Years

  • July 20, 2012
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It would be something of an understatement to suggest that the historians of the future are unlikely to look back on the first decade of the twenty-first century with much favor.

It was a decade in which the world’s most powerful democracy unleashed   a swathe of violence across the world in the name of the...

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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