Notes From the Margins…

Whatever Happened to the Future?

  • April 17, 2014
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There was a time when the future seemed like something you could rely on, at least if you were lucky enough to live in the ‘developed’ world; when you could look at your life twenty or thirty years down the line and know that you would have a job, and that if you worked for...

Does Work Make You Free?

  • April 16, 2014
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Work is good for you.     We know this because our politicians never cease to remind us of the fact.   Whether singing the virtues of ‘hard-working families’, or introducing punitive benefits caps and sanctions in an attempt to ‘get people back to work’ or ‘make work pay’, they constantly present work not simply...

Why Has the Ministry of Defence Tried to Ban Its Own Book?

  • April 13, 2014
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Attempts by democratic governments to ban books rarely work out well.   If the book is banned on grounds of public morality (Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Tropic of Cancer), then the writer nearly always wins in the end and the government that tried to suppress their work is likely to end up looking puritanical, cloven-footed and...

How the Greens Subverted the Nation’s Children

  • April 11, 2014
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Michael Gove has been in the papers a lot recently.   I still can’t think of him enthusiastically describing London as a place to have ‘loads of hot sex’ without feeling a combination of astonishment and faint queasiness in my stomach.

The juxtaposition of Gove and ‘hot sex’ is such an unlikely and unappetizing combination for...

My Father’s House: Official Re-Launch!

  • April 09, 2014
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After more than a decade out of print, my 1998 memoir My Father’s House: In Search of a Lost Past officially comes into existence today as a self-published e-book.     It’s available at Amazon, iBooks, Kobo and other outlets at £3.99 ($6.99).     My Father’s House is my most personal book,...

Miliband: Death by Triangulation

  • April 08, 2014
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Reading or listening to Ed Miliband’s speeches has never been good for my health.     Invariably they tend to produce the same responses; first a feeling of instant suffocation accompanied by a spreading numbness through my vital parts as the platitudes mount and words like ‘vision’ and ‘conviction’ and ‘I believe’ echo pointlessly round...

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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