Notes From the Margins…

Watching the Contenders ( when they shoot, shoot, shoot)

  • September 02, 2015
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I haven’t watched most of the debates between the four Labour leadership contenders, mainly because too much exposure to Cooper, Burnham and Kendall is bad for my blood pressure and has been scientifically proven to reduce my life expectancy by about seven years.   Nevertheless, last night I decided to ignore my doctor’s advice...

Turkey’s ‘terrorist’ journalists

  • September 01, 2015
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I’ve got a lot of respect for Vice News.  Its reporting is sharp, courageous, and provocative. It is fresh and youthful, hip without being gormlessly cool, with a no-bullshit-accepted attitude towards authority reminiscent of the best of the  60s and 70s underground press.   But even if I had no respect for it...

Useless Mouths

  • August 29, 2015
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Years before moving towards explicit racial genocide, the Nazis developed the notion of ‘useless mouths’ or ‘life unworthy of life’ to justify its ‘involuntary euthanasia’ program. Theorists argued that certain categories of people were nothing but a burden on society and therefore had no ‘right’ to life.   These ideas were a variant of...

Bang, Bang Maxwell’s Silver Hammer

  • August 26, 2015
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Many years ago, back in 1971, the publishing magnate Robert Maxwell was forced to resign his position on the board of directors of the Oxford-based publishing company Pergamon Press, following suggestions of malfeasance in connection with his role during an attempted strategic takeover of the company.  A Department of Trade and Industry inquiry into...

Down from the Mountains

  • August 25, 2015
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I’ve just returned from a working holiday in the Pyrenees.  During that time I haven’t done any blogging, partly because good  and sustained  Internet connections weren’t always available, and also because I was doing too many things to be able to sit down and write for long periods.   I went to the...

Calais: the dystopian frontier

  • July 31, 2015
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In these nervous, gloomy times our cultural appetite for dystopia often seems insatiable.     Again and again in book, tv series and film we like to imagine places in the near or distant future where our worst fears are realized, and the destructive or oppressive tendencies that we perhaps sense in the present are...

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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