Notes From the Margins…
We Could Be Heroes: from Brexit to the Blitz

We Could Be Heroes: from Brexit to the Blitz

  • February 26, 2019
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History has played a big part in the national torment that we’ve been going through for the last two and half years.  Social media and more mainstream political discourse alike are awash with facile historical references and comparisons, between Dunkirk and WTO rules, between the EU and Hitler, Napoleon, or the Soviet Union.

At times it...

Our Man in Slovenia

Our Man in Slovenia

  • February 24, 2019
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If the behaviour of British diplomats these last two and a half years is anything to go by, the UK may not be taking the giant strides across the world stage that Brexit visionaries seem to think it should.   Take foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt’s visit to Slovenia last week.  Showing all the intellectual gravitas of...

Cracking Up:  Brexit and the Seven Dwarves

Cracking Up: Brexit and the Seven Dwarves

  • February 19, 2019
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Fans of Titanic and other disaster movies will know what to expect from the genre.   In the first part of the movie the characters go about their business oblivious to what is about to happen.  They might be in an office building, a ship, a submarine, an oil rig or any other structure that the...

Shamima Begum and the Quality of Mercy

Shamima Begum and the Quality of Mercy

  • February 17, 2019
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What is mercy?   The Oxford Dictionary defines it as ‘ compassion or forgiveness shown towards someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.’  This definition highlights the essential component of mercy, which is forbearance and leniency from a position of power and authority.

This concept is well-established in various religious traditions.  The Quran declares:...

The TaxPayers’ Alliance:  Your Toxic Solutions

The TaxPayers’ Alliance: Your Toxic Solutions

  • February 14, 2019
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It’s been known for some time, for those who want to look, that the lobbying organisation the Taxpayers’ Alliance is not what it says it is.  On its website the TPA presents itself as a ‘non-partisan, grassroots campaign for lower taxes, government transparency and an end to wasteful government spending.

Founded in 2003  by Matthew Elliott –...

Guest Post:  Catalonia, the Trials of Shame

Guest Post: Catalonia, the Trials of Shame

  • February 11, 2019
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This week the first trials of Catalan government officials, politicians, parliamentarians, police officials and civic activists for charges relating to the 1 October 2017 independence referendum begin in Madrid.  This is a guest post from my good friend Andreu Jené, giving a Catalan perspective on these events, with my translation.

Cartoon credit:  Paco Santero 


Tomorrow the first...

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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