Notes From the Margins…
Posts for US politics Category
Of Cats and Dogs

Of Cats and Dogs

  • August 31, 2021
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Given the scale of the disaster unfolding in Kabul right now, it might seem a little frivolous to write about Paul ‘Penn’ Farthing, the ex-Marine Sergeant and founder of the Nowzad animal rescue charity, who has just arrived back in the UK on a plane filled with cats and dogs – and no people.

So let me explain.  I have great affection for cats and dogs, but I don’t feel any particular joy in the fact that Farthing managed to get his rescue animals safely out of Afghanistan.

Of course I’m glad the animals weren’t shot...

Imperial Sunset on the Rocks Please

Imperial Sunset on the Rocks Please

  • August 18, 2021
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Some empires take a long time to die.  The Roman Empire was already in decline centuries before the final collapse of the Western Empire in c.376-476.   By the end of the seventeenth century the weaknesses of the Spanish/Hapsburg Empire that spanned Europe and Latin America from the late fifteenth century onwards were already apparent, but...

The Trumptown Putschists

The Trumptown Putschists

  • January 07, 2021
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Many years ago, when I moved to Spain in 1988, people used to talk about the coup attempt of 1981, when Lieutenant-Colonel Antonio Tejero and 200 Civil Guard officers took over the Spanish Congress of Deputies and held MPs hostage.  Years later, people could still remember what they were doing on the day of 23-F,...

Epstein’s Monsters

Epstein’s Monsters

  • May 30, 2020
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In Shelley’s poem Ozymandias, a traveller comes across a broken statue in the desert consisting of  ‘ two vast and trunkless legs of stone’ protruding from a plinth, and ‘a shattered visage’ lying half-buried in the sand ‘ whose frown/And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command/Tell that its sculptor well those passions read/Which yet...

Stuck Inside a Lockdown With the Paranoid Blues Again

Stuck Inside a Lockdown With the Paranoid Blues Again

  • May 15, 2020
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Conspiracy is an overused and often misused word.   At its most basic dictionary level, it refers to a group of people who conspire together.  Nothing controversial about that.  History is filled with examples of actual conspiracies, from the assassination of Julius Caesar, to Contragate or the 9/11 hijackers.

Historical conspiracies are one thing; it’s  quite another...

Beware the Lies of March

Beware the Lies of March

  • March 29, 2020
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In difficult times, it’s comforting and perhaps essential to believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s also wise to bear in mind that there are always alternative possibilities. Historical tragedies are not like novels or theatrical tragedies.  They don’t come with redemptive endings or instructive moral messages.  They do...

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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