Notes From the Margins…

Blair: The Hollow Man Cometh

  • June 09, 2011
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The paperback version of Tony Blair’s ‘journey’ has just been published, and the cardboard version of our millionaire ex-PM is out and about trying to promote it, while simultaneously dispensing pearls of wisdom on how ‘we’ should respond to the Arab Spring.   The sight of Blair’s weird death mask face with its rictus grin...

UKBA – protecting our borders

  • June 06, 2011
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This is the lovely Rania Abdechakour.   She is five years old and suffers from quadriplegic cerebral palsy and epilepsy.   She also has reflex anoxic seizures which cause her heart to stop beating.

If the UK Border Agency (UKBA) gets its way, Rania may well be one of the youngest ‘illegal immigrants’ ever...

A tribute to Syed Saleem Shahzad

  • June 04, 2011
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Andrew Buncombe at  The Independent has written a moving personal tribute to the murdered Pakistani journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad.

Syed Saleem Shahzad had strong hands.  When he took hold of one of yours and clasped it enthusiastically you wondered what damage might be done. It was just that way three weeks ago in Islamabad, in the...

A Global ‘Hamsterdam’?

A Global ‘Hamsterdam’?

  • June 03, 2011
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One of the most compelling subplots in series four of HBO’s brilliant crime series  The Wire concerns the attempt by Major Howard ‘Bunny’ Colvin of the Baltimore police to implement a liberal drugs policy in the city, borrowed from the Dutch model.

Facing imminent retirement and disillusioned with a career spent in the futile and counterproductive...

In Memoriam: Syed Saleem Shahzad

  • June 02, 2011
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The murder of the Pakistani journalist  Syed Saleem Shahzad, bureau chief of the Asia Times Online,  is another indication of the rottenness at the heart of the Pakistani state.   Last year 44 journalists were killed in Pakistan, more than any other country in the world.

Shahzad was one of the most courageous, well-informed and reliable...

Julian Schnabel Says the Unsayable

  • May 31, 2011
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I’ve just watched Julian Schnabel’s ambitious epic about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict  Miral.  It’s not a great movie, and certainly doesn’t bear comparison with Schnabel’s brilliant cinematic rendition of  The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, but I felt that the dismissive and damning reviews that it received were unfair.  It’s true that some of the acting...

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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