Notes From the Margins…

All hail to the tyrant

  • January 23, 2015
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Anyone who wants to know what kind of world we are living in should note of the extraordinary diplomatic grovelling that has accompanied the passing of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia this morning.     Over here Lord Snooty declared himself ‘deeply saddened to hear of the death of the custodian of the two holy...

Try to be civil, Chilcot

  • January 22, 2015
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One of my favourite moments in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness occurs  when the narrator Marlow is interrupted by an irritated listener who tells him ‘Try to be civil Marlow.’ It’s a very English request, as Conrad well knew.   I mean here is Marlow, recounting a story of the horrific violence and cruelty, madness...

Je Suis Raif Badawi

  • January 17, 2015
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We’ve heard a great deal over the last two weeks from Western governments about free speech and freedom of expression.   We’ve heard that free speech is a defining value of our civilization that ‘the terrorists’ want to take away from us.     We’ve heard from Francois Hollande that ‘France has principles and values,...

Genocide Memorial Day

  • January 16, 2015
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If you’re in London this Sunday, and anywhere near University College London, I’m one of the speakers at an event organized by the Islamic Human Rights Commission to commemorate Genocide Memorial Day.   I’ll be talking about the expulsion of the Moriscos from seventeenth century Spain.

Here are the details:

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PLEASE CLICK HERE TO RSVP AND...

The folly of Roberto Saviano

  • January 15, 2015
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I’m a huge admirer of Roberto Saviano’s remorseless denunciation of the Neapolitan Camorra Gomorrah.   When I read it some years ago I was blown away by its incendiary prose, its moral fury and the almost reckless courage of its author.   Literary reviewers often refer to ‘brave’ books from writers who face no risks,...

Cometh the hour, cometh Farage

  • January 14, 2015
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‘Terrorism expert’ Steve Emerson may have earned almost universal ridicule for his comments on Europe’s Muslim ‘no go zones’ last week, but not everyone is laughing.     This morning I had the misfortune to be stuck in a car listening to Nigel Farage on the Today programme, telling an interviewer that there were parts...

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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