Notes From the Margins…
The Daily Mail, Cage, and the Enemy Within

The Daily Mail, Cage, and the Enemy Within

  • January 09, 2016
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Terrorist emergencies have often acted as a catalyst for McCarthyite witchhunts, whether it was the ‘scoundrelly laws’ passed by the French governments of the 1890s in response to anarchist bombings and assassinations, or the emergency laws passed by the West German government in response to the Baader-Meinhof Gang  during the 1970s.

Over the last fifteen years...

Idiot Wind: Corbyn’s Fake Refuseniks

Idiot Wind: Corbyn’s Fake Refuseniks

  • January 07, 2016
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If my inadvertent involvement in last year’s media onslaught against Stop the War taught me one thing: it was the incredible mendacity,  political dishonesty and sheer venality of Jeremy Corbyn’s opponents inside the Labour Party.  It’s possible – within limits – to respect one’s political opponents when they uphold genuine principles that they sincerely believe...

Abderramane Sissako’s Timbuktu Blues

  • January 05, 2016
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I have nothing against cinema as recreational entertainment, or going to the movies for the sake of escapism.  Cinema has always served these purposes, and there is nothing inherently ignoble about them.   But such expectations also tend to produce an awful lot of mass-produced ephemeral dross and formulaic over-hyped blockbusters drenched in...

2016: All Aboard the Armageddon Express

2016: All Aboard the Armageddon Express

  • January 02, 2016
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One thing you can say about the maniacs who are intent on dragging us to destruction is they don’t waste any time.   They don’t listen to seasonal bromides from the Queen or anywhere else asking us to light candles in the darkness.

Not for them New Year messages about peace, hope and goodwill.  In a...

Waterland

  • December 30, 2015
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As a child I once lived in Guyana in a house built on concrete pillars.    This was a useful and essential precaution in a tropical country where a heavy downpour could flood the ground floor in a single afternoon.  Many years later I visited Inle lake in what was then Burma,...

Lord Snooty’s Christmas Message

  • December 24, 2015
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It’s the season of goodwill, when custom and force of habit should incline us, however temporarily, to take a more charitable view of the intentions of our fellow men and women, even those who happen to be our political enemies.  But there can never be a Christmas truce with Lord Snooty and His Pals,...

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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