In the latest issue:

Real Men Go to Tehran

Adam Shatz

What Trump doesn’t know about Iran

Patrick Cockburn

Kaiser Karl V

Thomas Penn

The Hostile Environment

Catherine Hall

Social Mobilities

Adam Swift

Short Cuts: So much for England

Tariq Ali

What the jihadis left behind

Nelly Lahoud

Ray Strachey

Francesca Wade

C.J. Sansom

Malcolm Gaskill

At the British Museum: ‘Troy: Myth and Reality’

James Davidson

Poem: ‘The Lion Tree’

Jamie McKendrick

SurrogacyTM

Jenny Turner

Boys in Motion

Nicholas Penny

‘Trick Mirror’

Lauren Oyler

Diary: What really happened in Yancheng?

Long Ling

Short CutsThomas Jones
Close

Terms and Conditions

These terms and conditions of use refer to the London Review of Books and the London Review Bookshop website (www.lrb.co.uk — hereafter ‘LRB Website’). These terms and conditions apply to all users of the LRB Website ("you"), including individual subscribers to the print edition of the LRB who wish to take advantage of our free 'subscriber only' access to archived material ("individual users") and users who are authorised to access the LRB Website by subscribing institutions ("institutional users").

Each time you use the LRB Website you signify your acceptance of these terms and conditions. If you do not agree, or are not comfortable with any part of this document, your only remedy is not to use the LRB Website.


  1. By registering for access to the LRB Website and/or entering the LRB Website by whatever route of access, you agree to be bound by the terms and conditions currently prevailing.
  2. The London Review of Books ("LRB") reserves the right to change these terms and conditions at any time and you should check for any alterations regularly. Continued usage of the LRB Website subsequent to a change in the terms and conditions constitutes acceptance of the current terms and conditions.
  3. The terms and conditions of any subscription agreements which educational and other institutions have entered into with the LRB apply in addition to these terms and conditions.
  4. You undertake to indemnify the LRB fully for all losses damages and costs incurred as a result of your breaching these terms and conditions.
  5. The information you supply on registration to the LRB Website shall be accurate and complete. You will notify the LRB promptly of any changes of relevant details by emailing the registrar. You will not assist a non-registered person to gain access to the LRB Website by supplying them with your password. In the event that the LRB considers that you have breached the requirements governing registration, that you are in breach of these terms and conditions or that your or your institution's subscription to the LRB lapses, your registration to the LRB Website will be terminated.
  6. Each individual subscriber to the LRB (whether a person or organisation) is entitled to the registration of one person to use the 'subscriber only' content on the web site. This user is an 'individual user'.
  7. The London Review of Books operates a ‘no questions asked’ cancellation policy in accordance with UK legislation. Please contact us to cancel your subscription and receive a full refund for the cost of all unposted issues.
  8. Use of the 'subscriber only' content on the LRB Website is strictly for the personal use of each individual user who may read the content on the screen, download, store or print single copies for their own personal private non-commercial use only, and is not to be made available to or used by any other person for any purpose.
  9. Each institution which subscribes to the LRB is entitled to grant access to persons to register on and use the 'subscriber only' content on the web site under the terms and conditions of its subscription agreement with the LRB. These users are 'institutional users'.
  10. Each institutional user of the LRB may access and search the LRB database and view its entire contents, and may also reproduce insubstantial extracts from individual articles or other works in the database to which their institution's subscription provides access, including in academic assignments and theses, online and/or in print. All quotations must be credited to the author and the LRB. Institutional users are not permitted to reproduce any entire article or other work, or to make any commercial use of any LRB material (including sale, licensing or publication) without the LRB's prior written permission. Institutions may notify institutional users of any additional or different conditions of use which they have agreed with the LRB.
  11. Users may use any one computer to access the LRB web site 'subscriber only' content at any time, so long as that connection does not allow any other computer, networked or otherwise connected, to access 'subscriber only' content.
  12. The LRB Website and its contents are protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights. You acknowledge that all intellectual property rights including copyright in the LRB Website and its contents belong to or have been licensed to the LRB or are otherwise used by the LRB as permitted by applicable law.
  13. All intellectual property rights in articles, reviews and essays originally published in the print edition of the LRB and subsequently included on the LRB Website belong to or have been licensed to the LRB. This material is made available to you for use as set out in paragraph 8 (if you are an individual user) or paragraph 10 (if you are an institutional user) only. Save for such permitted use, you may not download, store, disseminate, republish, post, reproduce, translate or adapt such material in whole or in part in any form without the prior written permission of the LRB. To obtain such permission and the terms and conditions applying, contact the Rights and Permissions department.
  14. All intellectual property rights in images on the LRB Website are owned by the LRB except where another copyright holder is specifically attributed or credited. Save for such material taken for permitted use set out above, you may not download, store, disseminate, republish, post, reproduce, translate or adapt LRB’s images in whole or in part in any form without the prior written permission of the LRB. To obtain such permission and the terms and conditions applying, contact the Rights and Permissions department. Where another copyright holder is specifically attributed or credited you may not download, store, disseminate, republish, reproduce or translate such images in whole or in part in any form without the prior written permission of the copyright holder. The LRB will not undertake to supply contact details of any attributed or credited copyright holder.
  15. The LRB Website is provided on an 'as is' basis and the LRB gives no warranty that the LRB Website will be accessible by any particular browser, operating system or device.
  16. The LRB makes no express or implied representation and gives no warranty of any kind in relation to any content available on the LRB Website including as to the accuracy or reliability of any information either in its articles, essays and reviews or in the letters printed in its letter page or material supplied by third parties. The LRB excludes to the fullest extent permitted by law all liability of any kind (including liability for any losses, damages or costs) arising from the publication of any materials on the LRB Website or incurred as a consequence of using or relying on such materials.
  17. The LRB excludes to the fullest extent permitted by law all liability of any kind (including liability for any losses, damages or costs) for any legal or other consequences (including infringement of third party rights) of any links made to the LRB Website.
  18. The LRB is not responsible for the content of any material you encounter after leaving the LRB Website site via a link in it or otherwise. The LRB gives no warranty as to the accuracy or reliability of any such material and to the fullest extent permitted by law excludes all liability that may arise in respect of or as a consequence of using or relying on such material.
  19. This site may be used only for lawful purposes and in a manner which does not infringe the rights of, or restrict the use and enjoyment of the site by, any third party. In the event of a chat room, message board, forum and/or news group being set up on the LRB Website, the LRB will not undertake to monitor any material supplied and will give no warranty as to its accuracy, reliability, originality or decency. By posting any material you agree that you are solely responsible for ensuring that it is accurate and not obscene, defamatory, plagiarised or in breach of copyright, confidentiality or any other right of any person, and you undertake to indemnify the LRB against all claims, losses, damages and costs incurred in consequence of your posting of such material. The LRB will reserve the right to remove any such material posted at any time and without notice or explanation. The LRB will reserve the right to disclose the provenance of such material, republish it in any form it deems fit or edit or censor it. The LRB will reserve the right to terminate the registration of any person it considers to abuse access to any chat room, message board, forum or news group provided by the LRB.
  20. Any e-mail services supplied via the LRB Website are subject to these terms and conditions.
  21. You will not knowingly transmit any virus, malware, trojan or other harmful matter to the LRB Website. The LRB gives no warranty that the LRB Website is free from contaminating matter, viruses or other malicious software and to the fullest extent permitted by law disclaims all liability of any kind including liability for any damages, losses or costs resulting from damage to your computer or other property arising from access to the LRB Website, use of it or downloading material from it.
  22. The LRB does not warrant that the use of the LRB Website will be uninterrupted, and disclaims all liability to the fullest extent permitted by law for any damages, losses or costs incurred as a result of access to the LRB Website being interrupted, modified or discontinued.
  23. The LRB Website contains advertisements and promotional links to websites and other resources operated by third parties. While we would never knowingly link to a site which we believed to be trading in bad faith, the LRB makes no express or implied representations or warranties of any kind in respect of any third party websites or resources or their contents, and we take no responsibility for the content, privacy practices, goods or services offered by these websites and resources. The LRB excludes to the fullest extent permitted by law all liability for any damages or losses arising from access to such websites and resources. Any transaction effected with such a third party contacted via the LRB Website are subject to the terms and conditions imposed by the third party involved and the LRB accepts no responsibility or liability resulting from such transactions.
  24. The LRB disclaims liability to the fullest extent permitted by law for any damages, losses or costs incurred for unauthorised access or alterations of transmissions or data by third parties as consequence of visit to the LRB Website.
  25. While 'subscriber only' content on the LRB Website is currently provided free to subscribers to the print edition of the LRB, the LRB reserves the right to impose a charge for access to some or all areas of the LRB Website without notice.
  26. These terms and conditions are governed by and will be interpreted in accordance with English law and any disputes relating to these terms and conditions will be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales.
  27. The various provisions of these terms and conditions are severable and if any provision is held to be invalid or unenforceable by any court of competent jurisdiction then such invalidity or unenforceability shall not affect the remaining provisions.
  28. If these terms and conditions are not accepted in full, use of the LRB Website must be terminated immediately.
Close
Vol. 30 No. 8 · 24 April 2008
Short Cuts

The Italian Elections

Thomas Jones

The demonstrators who’ve been disrupting the progress of the Olympic torch around the world have found an unwelcome ally in the Italian far right. Last month, Forza Nuova cashed in on the popularity of the ‘flame of shame’ protests to organise a rally of their own outside the Chinese embassy in Rome. Their leader, Roberto Fiore, expressing outrage at the treatment of the Tibetans, called for the immediate severing of diplomatic relations between China and Italy and a boycott of the games by Italian athletes. The ulterior motive for his unlikely concern for Tibet isn’t hard to make out: one of his campaign slogans calls for ‘un’Italia senza extracomunitari’ (an Italy without non-Europeans, which would mean getting rid of the 200,000 or so Chinese immigrants who live here).

A few days ago, walking through the Piazza Repubblica in the town where I live an hour or so north of Rome, I stumbled across a small group of Forza Nuova supporters who were just setting out on a march. There were only about a dozen of them, all young men, waving their neofascist banners, the letters FN emblazoned in black italic script on a red and white background. For about half a second I felt like Isherwood in Berlin in the early 1930s. Then I reminded myself that the most right-wing of the 16 parties competing for my neighbours’ votes at the beginning of next week has no chance of coming to power. In the 2006 general election, Forza Nuova was a member of the Alternativa Sociale, a coalition headed by Alessandra Mussolini which won less than 0.7 per cent of the vote – about the same as the BNP in Britain in 2005 – and no seats in either the Chamber of Deputies or the Senate. Still, for a party nobody votes for, they make a lot of noise.

Not as much noise, however, as the lot who are leading the polls, Silvio Berlusconi’s Popolo della Libertà (People of Freedom), his old Forza Italia with a facelift. A couple of days after Forza Nuova’s motley march-past, a PDL candidate took over Piazza San Giuseppe to harangue a small crowd of supporters and passers-by. It was a far more modest affair than Berlusconi’s big-city extravaganzas: no young lovelies in their scanties, just a man with a megaphone. ‘Security is the first right of every citizen,’ he proclaimed, before accusing the left of stealing ideas from the right. He had a point: Walter Veltroni’s centre-left Partito Democratico is promising tax cuts and a drop in public spending. Veltroni, until very recently the mayor of Rome, openly acknowledges Tony Blair as a role model, though unlike Berlusconi he’s never invited him on holiday.

Berlusconi, meanwhile, says he’ll cut taxes and red-tape and spend the money on such (vanity) projects as building a bridge to Sicily and clinging onto Alitalia, which is currently losing a million euros a day. (The idea that the country needs a flag-carrier airline is as ridiculous, if not as deadly, as Mussolini’s notion 80 years ago that it needed a few new colonies. Perhaps some arrangement could be made with British Airways, whereby BA fly the planes but outsource their baggage handling to Milan.) Less clear is what either Berlusconi or Veltroni intends to do about the national debt. The largest in Europe, it stands at €1.6 trillion, or 104 per cent of GDP, and costs €70 billion a year in interest payments.

The two chief contenders for the unenviable job of being Italy’s prime minister don’t only have similar policies; their electoral tactics have a fair amount in common, too. Soon after these elections were announced, following the collapse of Romano Prodi’s coalition government in January, Veltroni declared that the PD – created last year by the merger of the Democratici della Sinistra with seven smaller parties – would be running more or less alone. In 2006, the DS were at the head of a ramshackle alliance of every party that could be bundled together under the label ‘left’. Prodi’s government fell when the centrist Popolari UDEUR withdrew after its leader had to resign from the cabinet because he was being investigated on corruption charges. Reckoning he was likely to lose in any case – the electorate had lost patience with Prodi after only 20 months in power, as if that was plenty of time to sort out Berlusconi’s mess – Veltroni decided instead to do without his troublesome partners. Like the creation of the PD, this is part of the centre-left’s attempt to turn the system into something closer to a manageable bipartisan one.

Soon afterwards, it transpired that Berlusconi isn’t running with all of his old allies either. Alessandra Mussolini’s on-board, but Forza Nuova is not. More significantly, the Unione dei Democratici Cristiani e di Centro are going it alone, with the unsurprising support of the Vatican. Without the Catholic vote, Berlusconi’s chances are diminished, if not by enough to stop him topping the ballot. By the time this issue of the LRB is published, he’ll almost certainly have won.* He’s very unlikely to have an outright majority, however: the cobbling together of coalitions has not been abandoned, only postponed.

To see who I would vote for, were I able to, I filled out a questionnaire on La Repubblica’s website, which asked for my views on a range of issues from abortion, civil partnerships, assisted reproduction and euthanasia to immigration, nuclear power, privatisation, unions, taxation and the war in Iraq. Apparently I fall somewhere between the Sinistra l’Arcobaleno (a ‘rainbow’ coalition of left-wing parties) and the Sinistra Critica. Neither has any real chance, so the question was doubly academic. I made a mental note to register as an overseas voter before Brown calls a general election in Britain. It was, after all, the votes of Italians abroad that tipped the Senate Prodi’s way in 2006.

Send Letters To:

The Editor
London Review of Books,
28 Little Russell Street
London, WC1A 2HN

letters@lrb.co.uk

Please include name, address, and a telephone number.

Letters

Vol. 30 No. 9 · 8 May 2008

Thomas Jones describes the far-right legionaries of Forza Nuova who took sneaky advantage of the touring Olympic torch fiasco as unwelcome allies for the no doubt politically sounder folk who have been doing their anti-Chinese bit around the place these past few weeks (LRB, 24 April). But if there are going to be protests in the streets as the by now ludicrously misnamed ‘flame of harmony’ is paraded internationally, according to some geographical scheme which I for one am quite unable to follow, how much more encouraging it would be if they were aimed, not specifically at the Chinese, but at the monstrous expansion and corruption of the whole Olympic idea. At the bad taste, among other things, of perpetuating a ritual such as the circulation of the torch, which appears to have been the brainwave of the Nazi Party in 1936, on the occasion of the games in Berlin which have so often been condemned as a gross politicisation of what had hitherto existed as a more or less sporting event. Carried, as the torch surely would have been that time around, by extravagantly beautiful and athletic young German men, spectators would at least have been spared the weird episode of street theatre offered to those who turned out in London in hopes of seeing such co-opted celebrities as an ageing and unfit television news reader or a pretty young presenter from Blue Peter. Could grotesquerie go further? Only perhaps had our own minister for the Olympics, the not obviously very sporty Tessa Jowell, been persuaded to get into her running gear and taken her chances with the Chinese torch-minders as they fought their unlovely way through the streets of the capital. I seem to remember that when the 2012 Games were awarded to London, one of the great benefits we were promised was that, Olympic glory being what it is, the nation as a whole would now be feeling a sudden urge to get off the couch and start training in eventual expectation of a medal. Ms Jowell passed up the opportunity to set the example and project an enticing trailer for the big feature in four years’ time. But then she has other things on her mind: notably the horrendous extent to which the estimated cost of the London Olympics has grown ever since the day in 2005 when it was announced they would be held here. Horrendous not least because it is now apparent that the original estimate was kept deliberately and misleadingly low by a government so sold on the vision thing that it preferred that the rest of us go around with our eyes shut.

Bill McIntosh
London N7

send letters to

The Editor
London Review of Books
28 Little Russell Street
London, WC1A 2HN

letters@lrb.co.uk

Please include name, address and a telephone number

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.