Notes From the Margins…
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David Lammy’s Army School for Rioters

  • July 15, 2012
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There was an awful article in last week’s New Statesman by Tottenham Labour MP David Lammy, accusing the left of a curmudgeonly attitude towards the government’s plans for military-staffed ‘service schools.’

Lammy condemns critics of the scheme for propagating the idea that ‘ servicemen and women are “brainwashed killers…hell-bent on converting our sons and daughters to violence” – arguments that he describes as “ nonsense and offensive nonsense at that.”

With that strawman out of the way, he goes on to argue that

The military already play a hugely positive role in our schools. The Combined Cadet...

The Border Between Us

  • July 10, 2012
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“There is a cyclone fence between ourselves and the slaughter and behind it we hover in a calm protected world like netted fish/exactly like netted fish/It is either the beginning or the end of the world/and the choice is ourselves or nothing.”

Carolyn Forche, “Ourselves or Nothing.”

Showing the humanity and foresight for which he and his...

Branagh’s Wallander

  • July 09, 2012
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I’m a big fan of Henning Mankel’s Wallander novels and the Swedish television series that came out of them,  and it’s only because I still pine for the latter that I watched Kenneth Branagh’s English version last night.

Like its predecessors, it’s watchable and not without merits.   Branagh portrays  Mankel’s obsessed and...

Bring out more flags

  • May 31, 2012
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Since I got back from Mallorca I’ve been tapping away at the keyboard like crazy in an attempt to make up for two idyllic weeks that I really don’t regret at all.   First I had to check proofs and indexes for Fortress Europe, which is due out at the end of the summer....

Guest post: Justice for Sujata

  • May 17, 2012
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The rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) of Bangladesh has cast a grim light on a tragedy that has previously received little attention from the outside world – the culture of impunity that surrounds crimes of sexual violence inflicted on indigenous women and minors by Bengali settlers, which...

Cricket freezing cricket: the West Indies are back

  • May 06, 2012
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During the Thatcherite 1980s it was one of the satisfying rituals of the English summer to witness the West Indies cricket team demolish England both at home and abroad.  The reasons were partly personal and partly political.  As a child I lived in Jamaica and Guyana and the astonishing rise of the West...

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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