Notes From the Margins…

Full Spectrum Idiocy

  • June 30, 2015
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Governments rarely have anything honest to say in response to terrorist atrocities, and they rarely have anything intelligent, insightful or useful to say about them either.     Invariably they lapse into the standard bargain-basement cant that has acquired such tedious traction over the last fourteen years: we shall not cower…an attack against all of...

International Terror Day

  • June 27, 2015
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In his memoir The Devil in France, the German-Jewish novelist Lion Feuchtwanger looked back on the historical circumstances that had resulted in his internment in a French prison in Tunisia during World War I,   and driven him into exile in southern France following Hitler’s ascent to power, and his internment in French concentration camps...

The Brightest and the Best

  • June 24, 2015
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One thing you can always count on with this government: when it comes to immigration it will always do something more squalid and nasty than you previously thought possible.   And this week Lord Snooty and His Pals have demonstrated once again that when it comes to sheer bloody-minded stupidity, mean-spirited xenophobia and downright racism,...

A march against austerity does you good

  • June 21, 2015
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There is a certain breed of cynic on the left who will tell you there’s no point in demonstrations, that marches, protests etc are managed spectacles through which an authoritarian political system projects an illusion of democratic participation and offers a safety valve to release potentially dangerous and destabilising pressures.   Such pessimism is not...

Al Qaeda: Our New Enemy in the War on Terror

  • June 18, 2015
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There was a time, shortly after the 9/11 attacks, when the world suddenly seemed simple and easy to understand, when the falling towers blew away any remaining clouds of ambiguity, nuance or complexity.   In those grim but bracing days,   everything seemed black and white and bathed in the luminous glow of ‘moral...

Islamic State’s ‘radicalized’ British volunteers: a useful threat?

  • June 17, 2015
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I feel sorry for the Bradford husbands and other British Muslim families whose children and relatives have absconded to join Islamic State’s savage utopia, but I don’t feel any sympathy at all for the ‘radicalized’ volunteers themselves who have gone to Syria.   It isn’t as if you have to look very far to know...

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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