Notes From the Margins…

Ofsted: Gove’s Trojan Horse

  • June 11, 2014
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For some time now it has been clear that Ofsted functions as the political instrument of central government.   Until recently this instrumentalization was mostly manifest in general terms; for governments intent on scapegoating teachers for the many failings of British society, Ofsted’s inquisitorial inspection system constituted a useful blunt instrument for intimidating and bullying...

Spiking the Homeless

  • June 09, 2014
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Many years ago back in the early 1980s, I lived in New York.   One of the many novelties that I was exposed to during those three and half years was the persistent evidence of   homelessness.     At that time tramps   and homeless people weren’t particularly visible in the UK, even in...

Offshore asylum screening centres: towards a cordon sanitaire

  • June 05, 2014
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Europe’s annual migrant ‘boat season’ is getting underway, and already the numbers of migrants crossing the Mediterranean are already showing a dramatic increase on previous years.     According to the European Border Agency Frontex, 42,000 people have tried to reach Italy this year,   compared with UNHCR figures of 3, 362 arrivals by the...

The friends of Jimmy Savile

  • June 03, 2014
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It is now clear that the freakish peroxide conman Jimmy Savile was one of the nastiest and most vicious paedophiles in British history.     At present, according to new research commissioned from the NSPCC by BBC’s Panorama,   there are more than 500 reports of abuse against him, and that figure is almost certainly...

Europe’s Ghosts

  • June 02, 2014
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I’ve been walking in the mountains of Andalucia for the last week, and staying in a hotel with really poor Internet reception.     As a result I wasn’t able to blog, and was barely able even to grasp what had taken place in the European elections until I got back to the UK over...

In the Country of the Blind

  • May 23, 2014
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It’s early days yet, but the first signs this morning are that Ukip has made predictably big gains in local council elections.     This does not yet constitute the ‘political earthquake’ that Farage and his cohorts have predicted.   So far Ukip has not gained control of any councils, it has failed to make...

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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