Notes From the Margins…

The Rohingya: a suitable case for genocide?

  • May 18, 2015
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‘ All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood,’ declares Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.     Today, in the early 21st century, we live in a world in...

Guyana’s New Beginning

  • May 16, 2015
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Divide-and-rule was always the special hallmark of British imperialism.     It’s a technique that worked well for Britain in its imperial heyday, and which was also brought into play during the ‘end of empire’ twilight,   when successive British governments sought to shape the political arrangments in their colonies in favour of their own...

Europe’s ‘war on people smugglers’

  • May 14, 2015
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We’ve had the war on drugs and the war on terror, and now the European Union in its infinite wisdom is preparing to add a new conflict to this less-than- illustrious tradition, in the shape of its militarised response to ‘people smuggling’ that has finally been rolled out this week.     To be precise,...

Election: Reasons to be cheerful

  • May 13, 2015
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Optimism of the will and pessimism of the intellect isn’t always the best response to political defeats or reversals.   The refusal to accept adverse circumstances and setbacks might be admirable in some contexts, but it can also indicate a confusion between what is desirable and what is possible, and a kind of blind faith...

If you want to shop at Waitrose clap your hands, clap your hands

  • May 11, 2015
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If there’s one political concept I detest even more than the banal cliché ‘hard-working families’, it’s the notion of the ‘aspirational voter’.   I had already had quite enough of the former during the election campaign,   and now ‘aspirational’ has become the new buzzword as Labour’s ‘soul searching’ into the great debacle gets...

Election 2015: the horror

  • May 08, 2015
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I didn’t stay up to watch the nightmare unfold last night.     The exit polls filled me with such shock, outrage, and disgust that I knew my blood pressure wouldn’t be able to cope with it.   After eleven o’clock there was no way I was going to spend any more time in the...

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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