Notes From the Margins…

Apologies

  • December 07, 2015
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Some last thoughts – from me anyway – on the International Brigades debacle.  As I have tried to make clear since I wrote my piece about Hilary Benn last Thursday, I never meant to suggest any moral equivalence whatsoever between Daesh and the International Brigades.  I continue to believe that the overall context...

Open Letter to Tristram Hunt

  • December 06, 2015
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Dear Tristram Hunt MP,

You have probably never heard of me, and there is no reason why you should.  But I felt moved to write to you because a  rather freakish and unusual series of events has brought our names into the same orbit.   Today, while driving home, I heard on the radio...

My life as a fascist sympathizer

  • December 05, 2015
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No writer can be entirely assured that readers will understand  what they write in the way that they want, but there are times when you really wonder whether some of the people who read what you have actually written have any interest in even trying to understand what it is you’ve said.  Take my piece...

Mr Benn Goes Bombing

  • December 03, 2015
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The government predictably won its debate over whether to extend British air strikes into Syria last night.  Unlike 2013, there was never really any doubt about the outcome. Cameron had his party behind him, in addition to the Liberal Democrats, the DUP and a large enough number of Labour MPs to ensure that the...

Corbyn’s rebels

  • November 28, 2015
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Lyndon Johnson once said of F.B.I. Director J. Edgar Hoover that ” It’s probably better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in.”  Perhaps that was the rationale behind Jeremy Corbyn’s decision to pack his shadow cabinet with so many people who did  not  reflect the new political...

We Bomb Therefore We Are

  • November 23, 2015
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Many people who have never read a word of military history or strategy will have come across the Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz’s famous dictum that ‘war is politics (policy) by other means.’    If wars are fought in pursuit of political goals, then it follows that governments will know what these goals...

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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