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Batons versus Ballots: On the Catalan Referendum

  • October 02, 2017
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The “nationalism of small nations” inevitably draws its emotional power from a sense of victimhood and a history of oppression — whether real or imagined. Watching the confiscations of ballot papers in Catalonia over the last week, I was reminded of the raid carried out by 300 Spanish Army officers on the Barcelona offices of the Catalan satirical magazine  Cu-Cut!  on 23 November 1905.   Outraged by a satirical cartoon lampooning the Spanish military, the officers trashed the magazine”s offices. The Spanish government, under pressure from the upper echelons of the army, banned the...

Mayday! Mayday!

  • May 02, 2017
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There are some politicians who look better from a distance, and Theresa May  is definitely  one of them.  May and her advisors are clearly aware of this, and they have done their best to shield her anything approaching close scrutiny. They have refused to let her participate in political debates. In an absurd attempt...

Liberation Day

  • March 30, 2017
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No matter what the future may bring, those of us who were lucky enough to be alive and British on March 29 2017 will never forget the glorious day when the United Kingdom finally threw off the yoke of the European Union.  In the years to come, perhaps very soon, we will hold a national...

Empire 2.0

  • March 15, 2017
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In years to come, historians will look back at the ruins of the country that was once the United Kingdom and wonder what brought about its spectacular and stunning collapse. As they pick their way through the rubble,   they will eventually end up in the strange  period that we are now living through, in...

Who let the dogs out? Brexit

  • September 12, 2016
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More than two months after the Brexit referendum, the surge in hate crime and racism unleashed by the referendum shows no sign of abating, and the politicians who did so much to help bring it about continue to deny any responsibility for it. Farage has done this on various occasions, and now MEP and arch-Brexiter...

Troll Nation

  • September 01, 2016
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Anyone who has published, tweeted or posted  anything on the Internet will be aware that the worldwide web can be a dank and hateful environment in which all kinds of wild and extremely poisonous creatures flourish.  Whether it’s the anonymity provided by an avatar, or simply the fact that the Internet provides a tool...

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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