John Rentoul

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John Rentoul

John Rentoul is chief political commentator for The Independent on Sunday, and visiting professor at Queen Mary, University of London, where he teaches contemporary history. Previously he was chief leader writer for The Independent. He has written a biography of Tony Blair, whom he admired more at the end of his time in office than he did at the beginning. Click here and 'like' to receive updates on Facebook

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Rancid Boris, Eagle Eye

Rancid Boris

I did not have time to comment on Boris Johnson’s comments on Iraq on LBC last week (6 May), but my colleague Andy McSmith pointed out the absurdity of Johnson, an MP at the time of the vote on Iraq in 2003, having “voted to send British troops to war on a pretext which he [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Tuesday, 13 May 2014 at 9:53 pm

Gus O’Donnell: Ethics in the Civil Service, Eagle Eye

Gus O’Donnell: Ethics in the Civil Service

The full text of Gus O’Donnell’s Michael Quinlan lecture on “Ethics in the Civil Service” has now been published. Lord O’Donnell (pictured with Peter Hennessy), who was Cabinet Secretary 2005-11, was speaking to the Mile End Group in the Treasury on 30 April.
He discussed nudge theory and the ethical implications of paternalism, including the “very [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Tuesday, 13 May 2014 at 11:58 am

John Smith, 20 years on, Eagle Eye

John Smith, 20 years on

I won’t resume the debate about how Labour would have fared if John Smith, who died 20 years ago today, had lived. John McTernan pays tribute here, and Ian Bell also had a fine eulogy last week.
But McTernan’s article did pose one question that stands for the whole. The question is whether Smith would have [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Monday, 12 May 2014 at 12:17 pm

The Crutch and the Wound, Eagle Eye

The Crutch and the Wound

Ed Miliband has gained one group of voters and David Cameron has lost another: my column for The Independent on Sunday looked at how the two leaders have dealt with their respective defectors, incoming and outgoing. I cited an analysis by David Cowling, the BBC’s polling analyst, which said:
Two groups have shaped voting intention opinion [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Monday, 12 May 2014 at 11:46 am

New Zealand Butter All Over Again, Eagle Eye

New Zealand Butter All Over Again

David Cameron’s plan for European renegotiation and referendum became clearer in an important interview with Andrew Marr this morning (transcript here).
It is not quite New Zealand butter – Harold Wilson’s cosmetic renegotiation in 1975 of slightly better terms for imports from Commonwealth countries – but it is hardly the “fundamental” change Cameron has implied before.
The main elements [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Sunday, 11 May 2014 at 5:56 pm

Top 10 Malapropisms, Eagle Eye

Top 10 Malapropisms

My Top 10 in The Independent on Sunday at the weekend was Malapropisms.
As ever, I had a surplus of nominations, some of which did not make the final selection because they were not authenticated. They are still good, so here they are, with the best of the rest:
“We’ve passed a lot of water under the [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Tuesday, 6 May 2014 at 1:35 pm

Piketty and Green Eggs and Ham, Eagle Eye

Piketty and Green Eggs and Ham

I have finally knuckled down and read some of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, and I have to admit I like it, Sam-I-Am. (Previous scepticism here and here.)
How could one not warm to the intellectual arrogance of someone who dismisses Karl Marx thus?
He no doubt lacked the statistical data needed to refine his [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Monday, 5 May 2014 at 10:52 am

More Piketty Rebutty, Eagle Eye

More Piketty Rebutty

Further to my post about Thomas Piketty yesterday, which mentioned that Prof James Galbraith was a doubter, he has been in touch to draw my attention to a new paper by a colleague of his, Wenjie Zhang, which suggests that income inequality in China peaked in 2008, as Simon Kuznets would predict (and Piketty would [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Sunday, 4 May 2014 at 8:11 pm

Miliband and Umunna take small step away from naive anti-capitalism, Eagle Eye

Miliband and Umunna take small step away from naive anti-capitalism

I have written about Chuka Umunna, Labour’s shadow Business Secretary, in The Independent on Sunday today, noting that he did well last week in making life awkward for the Government over the Pfizer bid for AstraZeneca.
He did this without once mentioning – or being asked about – Labour’s policy at the 2010 election, which was still something [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Sunday, 4 May 2014 at 5:33 pm

Blair on Egypt and Saudi Arabia, Eagle Eye

Blair on Egypt and Saudi Arabia

I haven’t commented much on Tony Blair’s speech last week, “Why the Middle East Matters“, partly because I don’t understand his argument about Egypt – that the international community should give “Egypt and its new president as much assistance as we can”. I didn’t agree with him last year, and I am doubtful now. I know [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Saturday, 3 May 2014 at 5:51 pm

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