Notes From the Margins…

The Big Short

  • February 17, 2016
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Broadly speaking,  there are three types of political or socially-engaged cinema within  Hollywood.  The first category belongs to movies in which the politics are implicit rather than overt, but can nevertheless be detected or interpreted in the underlying ideological, cultural or racial assumptions and priorities that determine plot structures and storylines, or the way that...

A Budapest in London

  • February 15, 2016
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Last year’s election victory for Poland’s  Law and Justice party  is the latest expression of what some commentators have called an ‘authoritarian turn’ in  Eastern Europe.   The leader of Law and Justice, JarosÅ‚aw KaczyÅ„ski is a xenophobic nationalist and a great admirer of Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, a politician cut from similar cloth....

Lord Snooty and the Barbarians

  • February 10, 2016
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Experience has shown repeatedly that David Cameron has only a casual and on-off relationship with the truth.  Whether inventing numbers of moderate Syrian rebels or exaggerating the numbers of migrants receiving benefits, His Lordship has never allowed his messages to the nation to be cluttered with facts.  So no one will be surprised...

Hillary Clinton: a Hawk in Hawk’s Clothing

  • February 07, 2016
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I tend, for better or worse,  to be wary of progressive political surges in American politics that place too many expectations on who becomes president, and my attitude to Bernie Sanders is no exception.  On the one hand it’s heartening to see a self-proclaimed democratic socialist in the United States who is actually...

Europe: the return of the beast

  • February 01, 2016
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In every  era and in every  society, there are those who would like to do to the left what the Chilean army once did to Victor Jara, or what the Freikorps did to Karl Liebnecht and Rosa Luxemburg.  It used to be common in Greece for Golden Dawn militants to taunt leftist anti-fascists by...

A Bunch of Migrants

  • January 28, 2016
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No one should be surprised that our prime minister should have marked Holocaust Day to regale the nation with a contemptuous joke about how Jeremy Corbyn met with a ‘bunch of migrants in Calais’ and ‘told them that they could all come to Britain..  Contrary to Jonathan Freedland’s schoolmasterish suggestion that this jocularity was...

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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