Notes From the Margins…

Son of Saul

  • May 19, 2016
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In these dismal times, when the issue of ‘left antisemitism’ are being ruthlessly and cynically instrumentalised within British politics in an attempt to neutralize opposition to the Israeli state, and destroy the leftist surge within the Labour Party, it’s salutary experience to see the Hungarian director László Nemes’s shattering  Son of Saul.   If...

Truth, Lies, and Politics

  • May 14, 2016
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In Werner Herzog’s The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser, a  pompous eighteenth-century professor asks the idiot-savant Kaspar Hauser a variant of the classic logical puzzle: You are traveling down a path and come to a fork in the road. One fork leads to a village where everyone tells the truth and the other to a...

The Antisemitism Circus Comes to Town

  • April 28, 2016
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The last few days of Labour’s ‘antisemitism crisis’ have been a genuine education for me on many levels.  I had thought that Naz Shah’s retweeting of a crass twitter meme suggesting that Israel should be reestablished in the United States was a clumsy satire on the ‘joined-at-the-hip’ relationship between America and Israel which American politicians...

Between Europe and a Hard Place

  • April 24, 2016
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In June the United Kingdom will decide whether or not to remain part of the European Union.   This is obviously a historic decision for the country, and it may have far wider historic implications and consequences for the whole of Europe, even if the gaggle of reactionary Little Englander or rather Great Britainer nationalists,...

The World According to Bono

  • April 15, 2016
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I’ve got  nothing against famous people getting involved in politics or embracing political causes.  On the contrary, there’s no reason why the accident of fame and the weird cult of celebrity-worship that comes with it should place anyone above politics  or preclude celebrities from taking moral and political positions on issues that...

From Panama With Love

  • April 10, 2016
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In a democratic society there are times when one can put politics aside, and be magnanimous in victory or gracious in defeat.   There are moments when you may be tempted to be generous towards even your bitterest political enemies, and even to show empathy with them, when they suffer personal tragedy, or when...

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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