Notes From the Margins…
Posts for UK politics Category
You Won, Get Over It

You Won, Get Over It

  • January 20, 2019
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There are some historical laws that can’t be avoided, and one of them is this: that if a country aspires towards something that is objectively impossible, sooner or later that impossibility, like gravity,  will impose itself in ways that are impossible to resist or ignore.

You might be able to get away with this for a while, running on thin air like a cartoon character running off a cliff, but sooner or later reality will impose itself.

Ever since Theresa May came to power she has been trying to reconcile a contradictory aspiration: that the UK...

‘Foreigners Like You Have No Right to Interfere’

‘Foreigners Like You Have No Right to Interfere’

  • January 16, 2019
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Just after the referendum in 2016,  I got a message on this site from an anonymous fascist,  which I wish I’d kept.  The gist of it was that the people like me had lost, and that people like the writer were now going to take their country back.

The tone was  quietly triumphant and determined, and...

Brexit: Clowntime is Over

Brexit: Clowntime is Over

  • January 14, 2019
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‘In reading the history of nations, we find that, like individuals, they have their whims and their peculiarities; their seasons of excitement and recklessness, when they care not what they do,’ wrote Charles Mackay in his classic Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (1852).  ‘ We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds...

Ceasefire:  Goddard’s ‘Westminster mob’ are a threat to our common future

Ceasefire: Goddard’s ‘Westminster mob’ are a threat to our common future

  • January 11, 2019
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Few people who pay any attention to British politics will be unaware of the small but vocal group of far-right demonstrators who have been gathering outside Westminster for the last month. Led by Tommy Robinson fanboy James Goddard and inspired by the ‘gilets jaunes’ movement in France, these protesters have heckled and abused MPs, journalists...

Gavin Williamson: Brexitland Rules the Waves

Gavin Williamson: Brexitland Rules the Waves

  • January 06, 2019
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In the final pages of the Beagle diaries, Charles Darwin celebrated the incorporation of Australia and other British colonies into ‘ a grand centre of civilization’ and declared approvingly:

It is impossible for an Englishman to behold these distant colonies, without a high pride and satisfaction.  To hoist the British flag seems to draw as a...

Jeremy Hunt’s Chain of Fools

Jeremy Hunt’s Chain of Fools

  • January 04, 2019
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As a schoolboy studying for my History O’Level, I once memorized the British Foreign Secretary George Canning’s famous 1826 dictum: ‘I called the New World into existence  to redress the balance of the Old.’

At the time I was never exactly sure what it meant, but I understood that it had something to do with the ‘informal...

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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