Notes From the Margins…

The Arrest of Gerry Adams

  • May 04, 2014
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I first became familiar with the concept of ‘transitional justice’ back in 1995, when I went to El Salvador as a freelance to report on the post-war peace process. At the time I wasn’t much impressed by the essential premises on which this process was undertaken, which essentially established a principle of immunity as the...

The Peace Talks that Died of Boredom

  • May 01, 2014
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With a noisy sucking of bubbles, the last dregs of the Israeli-Palestinian peace ‘process’ have disappeared down the plughole. The ostensible reason for the collapse was the announcement of a forthcoming national unity agreement between Fatah and Hamas, which caused Netanyahu to suspend talks.   But it is difficult to imagine that anyone involved is...

George Orwell’s Grave

George Orwell’s Grave

  • April 30, 2014
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George Orwell is a writer who has had a big influence on my writing, politics,   and even my choice of residence at one time. I’m currently preparing a book proposal about 1984 and the dystopian imagination. So on Saturday I took advantage of a trip to the West Country to visit his grave...

Ukip: Bringing Lies and Racism to Your Town

  • April 28, 2014
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On the face of it, the last two weeks haven’t been the greatest advertisement for the Ukip anti-European/anti-political establishment ‘insurgency’.     First the ‘British builder’ in a Ukip party political broadcast candidate turned out to be a white Zimbabwean – sorry ‘Rhodesian’ – immigrant named Andre Lampitt.   In the broadcast builder Lampitt...

Complexities: Boko Haram

  • April 24, 2014
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I was in London today, participating in a radio discussion for the Voice of Russia about Boko Haram.     I was probably the most anomalous presence there, given that I’m not – to say the least – an expert on either Nigeria or Boko Haram, so it was a really interesting and thought-provoking experience...

Who Are We? We’re Christians!

  • April 22, 2014
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Given the shallowness and political opportunism of David Cameron’s manufactured conversion, his suggestion that Britons should ‘ be more confident about our status as a Christian country’ has provoked a surprisingly vigorous debate, with critics and defenders rising up to pronounce upon Lord Snooty’s assertions.

The ‘against’ group includes Alastair Campbell, the Rationalist Association, the National...

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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