Notes From the Margins…
On the Hate Highway

On the Hate Highway

  • April 11, 2019
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Yesterday a British Muslim woman I follow on Twitter posted an anonymous message she had received threatening to skin her alive.  This was one of various similar threats that she has received, some of which she had reported to the police – without any response.   These threats were clearly intended to intimidate a politically outspoken...

Rootless Cosmopolitans

Rootless Cosmopolitans

  • April 09, 2019
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Readers of this blog will know that I’m not a great fan of the pro-Brexit Left that goes under the portmanteau Lexit.  But there are various kinds of Lexit.  There are those who make compelling and accurate criticisms of the failings of the EU that I actually agree with.  To my mind, such...

At Eternity’s Gate

At Eternity’s Gate

  • April 06, 2019
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A few years ago I visited the artist Ray Atkins at his farmhouse in the French Pyrenees.  For the last few years Ray has painted the forest that surrounds his home, and he had just finished another of his forest paintings on the day we arrived.  I remember he took us into his garden and...

Rightwing Populism:  Your Climate Change Non-Solutions

Rightwing Populism: Your Climate Change Non-Solutions

  • April 05, 2019
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There are many urgent reasons to oppose the rightwing populist movements that are gaining ground across Europe and beyond: their racism and hostility to minorities, their anti-Muslim bigotry, their authoritarianism, their incipient fascism, their hostility to democracy, the antisemitism that so often seeps through their opposition to ‘globalism’.

But there is another reason that tends to...

The Exterminating Brexit

The Exterminating Brexit

  • April 02, 2019
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In Luis Buñuel’s surrealist masterpiece The Exterminating Angel, a group of bourgeois party-goers go out to dinner only to find out for some mysterious reason that they can’t leave. No one is actually stopping them, it’s just that the guests can’t seem to get out of the house.

Is it a spell?  Is it collective hysteria...

A Plague of Bastards

A Plague of Bastards

  • March 28, 2019
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If it’s true that people get the kind of politicians they deserve, then the British public must have sinned a great deal.  Just take a look at the events of the last few days.  On Monday, as readers of this blog may remember, Boris Johnson began the week on the front page of the Daily...

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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