When so much of even the so-called “serious” media is given over to celebrity-fuelled ephemera and the recycling of press releases and in-house gossip; and when the academic world is struggling to mitigate the worst effects of funding-driven overproduction and careerist modishness; and when national and international politics seem to consist of bowing to the imperatives of “the market” while avoiding public relations gaffes; then we need more than ever a “forum” like NLR. It is up to date without being merely journalistic; it is scholarly but unscarred by citation-compulsion; and it is analytical about the long-term forces at work in politics rather than obsessed by the spume of the latest wavelet of manoeuvring and posturing. … It is downright difficult (but none the worse for that), because what it tries to analyse is complex and its preferred intellectual tools are often conceptually sophisticated. It is difficult where being easy would be no virtue, difficult where aiming to be “accessible” would mean patronising its readers, difficult where ideas need to be chewed rather than simply swallowed. That’s what I admire above all about NLR: its intellectual seriousness – its magnificently strenuous attempt to understand, to analyse, to theorise.
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