Notes From the Margins…
At Eternity’s Gate

At Eternity’s Gate

  • April 06, 2019
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A few years ago I visited the artist Ray Atkins at his farmhouse in the French Pyrenees.  For the last few years Ray has painted the forest that surrounds his home, and he had just finished another of his forest paintings on the day we arrived.  I remember he took us into his garden and...

Rightwing Populism:  Your Climate Change Non-Solutions

Rightwing Populism: Your Climate Change Non-Solutions

  • April 05, 2019
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There are many urgent reasons to oppose the rightwing populist movements that are gaining ground across Europe and beyond: their racism and hostility to minorities, their anti-Muslim bigotry, their authoritarianism, their incipient fascism, their hostility to democracy, the antisemitism that so often seeps through their opposition to ‘globalism’.

But there is another reason that tends to...

The Exterminating Brexit

The Exterminating Brexit

  • April 02, 2019
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In Luis Buñuel’s surrealist masterpiece The Exterminating Angel, a group of bourgeois party-goers go out to dinner only to find out for some mysterious reason that they can’t leave. No one is actually stopping them, it’s just that the guests can’t seem to get out of the house.

Is it a spell?  Is it collective hysteria...

A Plague of Bastards

A Plague of Bastards

  • March 28, 2019
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If it’s true that people get the kind of politicians they deserve, then the British public must have sinned a great deal.  Just take a look at the events of the last few days.  On Monday, as readers of this blog may remember, Boris Johnson began the week on the front page of the Daily...

Go Down Brexit

Go Down Brexit

  • March 25, 2019
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‘Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one,’ wrote Charles Mackay in his  classic nineteenth century compendium of human folly Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. 

Despite the two-week postponement of...

Springtime for Fascists

Springtime for Fascists

  • March 23, 2019
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It’s become something of a cliché to look back on Nazi Germany and shake our heads and ask how the country of Goethe and Beethoven could have descended into barbarism.  There are obviously very specific historical reasons why Germany took the path it did, but there is also a more universal lesson that can be...

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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