Notes From the Margins…

At War Against Evil… Again

  • September 25, 2014
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With ‘reluctant warrior’ Barack Obama’s declaration of war against Islamic State, the United States has found another in a seemingly endless series of justifications for waging war in the Middle East.

In 1990/91 it was saving Kuwait.   In 2003 it was weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.   Last year it was the chemical weapons...

Scotland the Brave

  • September 22, 2014
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I was disappointed by the Scottish independence defeat on Thursday, particularly by such a wide margin, but nor was I entirely surprised by it.   The NO campaign was initially inept, detached and condescending about a result that its organizers took for granted, until the British political class and the media suddenly woke up to...

Islamic State and the Spectacle of Terror

Islamic State and the Spectacle of Terror

  • September 20, 2014
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In Don de Lillo’s 1991 novel Mao II, the writer-protagonist Bill Gray declares: “Years ago I thought it was possible for a novelist to alter the inner life of the culture.   Now bomb-makers and gunmen have taken over that territory.   They make raids on human consciousness.”

De Lillo was writing at a time when...

Gaza’s Drowned Refugees

  • September 18, 2014
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How many people must die in the Mediterranean migrant graveyard before Europe decides that the human cost of its ‘migration management’ policies requires a change in these policies?     Or to put in another way, at what point does the ‘collateral damage’ of the EU’s migration wars become so high that European governments can...

Caledonia Rising

  • September 16, 2014
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Whatever happens in Thursday’s referendum, the campaign has cast a grim spotlight on the venal and corrupt British state that so many Scots are eager to escape from.   Having spent much of the last two years complacently assuming that it could take the results for granted, the British political class has collectively set out...

Terrorism: the Medea Syndrome

Terrorism: the Medea Syndrome

  • September 14, 2014
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Violence is a recurring theme in  Greek classical drama,  and the works of the three great tragic dramatists Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripedes.     All three were citizens of a democratic Athenian state that waged wars of conquest as well as defensive wars against foreign aggression, and some of them participated in these wars.  ...

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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