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Anthropocene: the Human Epoch

Anthropocene: the Human Epoch

  • June 12, 2019
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In the last few years scientists have attempted with increasing urgency to draw attention to our impending ecological catastrophe.  But the deliberations of scientists don’t always have the impact they should have, partly because climate change and the degradation of the biosphere are complex subjects in themselves, and also because the careful and cautious language used by scientists often mutes the alarming nature of what they describe.

Art has a crucial role to play in helping us to understand our predicament and perhaps in finding ways out of it, and cinema and photography are essential...

Rapey Jokey Time

Rapey Jokey Time

  • May 09, 2019
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Heard any good rape jokes recently guys?  How about this one, which Labour MP Jess Phillips posted on twitter yesterday:

Just leaving Westminster and and man ran down the street along side me asking me about why Carl Benjamin shouldn’t be able to joke about my rape. Shouting “I pay your wages”.

— Jess Phillips...

Turning Point:  All the Young (Alt-Right) Dudes

Turning Point: All the Young (Alt-Right) Dudes

  • February 05, 2019
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As we sleepwalk towards the Brexit iceberg on 29 March, we should remember that the hardright ‘populists’  who have been dreaming of this outcome for so long don’t see it as an end, but as part of an ongoing process.

For some of them it’s a famous victory in a wider ethnonationalist assault on the international...

Our Man in Budapest

Our Man in Budapest

  • January 12, 2019
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As a general rule, whenever politicians tell you that they want to protect your culture or your civilisation with walls and fences, it’s a good idea to pat your wallet and check that it’s still there.

One minute you’re staring into their eyes and nodding approvingly as they tell you that your heritage and your identity...

Jeremy Hunt’s Chain of Fools

Jeremy Hunt’s Chain of Fools

  • January 04, 2019
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As a schoolboy studying for my History O’Level, I once memorized the British Foreign Secretary George Canning’s famous 1826 dictum: ‘I called the New World into existence  to redress the balance of the Old.’

At the time I was never exactly sure what it meant, but I understood that it had something to do with the ‘informal...

2019:  The Reckoning

2019: The Reckoning

  • December 31, 2018
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Politically speaking 2018 was a dismal year, but I can’t help feeling that 2019 is going to be a lot worse.  In the UK we are now faced with a situation that was unprecedented – and until the 2016 referendum – unimaginable.  A minority Tory government, propped up by a heavily-bribed DUP, is using 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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