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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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Did a gluten-free diet make Novak Djokovic the best tennis player in the world?, Eagle Eye

Did a gluten-free diet make Novak Djokovic the best tennis player in the world?

I do not normally do sport, apart from American football. I have a particular aversion to tennis, until they abolish the babyish second-service rule. And I have never heard of Novak Djokovic. But this, asked by Irish website The Score, is good enough to be number 611 in my series of Questions to Which the Answer is [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Wednesday, 18 May 2011 at 4:06 pm

A phone call in Pizza Express, Eagle Eye

A phone call in Pizza Express

Daniel Finkelstein makes a persuasive argument in The Times today (pay wall) against Gordon Brown’s appointment as head of the IMF. Persuasive if not wholly convincing. He opens, however, with the fullest account of Brown’s attempt, when he was Chancellor, to persuade George Osborne to allow him to go on a trip to Israel:
Sitting in [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Wednesday, 18 May 2011 at 12:31 pm

Back pedalling: one fewer bogus quotation, Eagle Eye

Back pedalling: one fewer bogus quotation

A good day for pedants. The education desk in the Conservative press office sarcastically welcomed the conversion of Andy Burnham, Labour’s education spokesman, to the cause of free schools (“U-turn on schools” in The Sun, but it does not appear to be online):
Still doesn’t have any policies but now he opposes one less of the [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Wednesday, 18 May 2011 at 10:46 am

Was Area 51 a conspiracy between Stalin and Joseph Mengele?, Eagle Eye

Was Area 51 a conspiracy between Stalin and Joseph Mengele?

Paul Dacre last week continued the Daily Mail’s odious peddling of the most offensive conspiracy theory, about the death of David Kelly. New readers may want to consult the green-ink archive on this blog, and to recall that David Aaronovitch has an outstanding invitation to debate any of the conspiracy theorists in public.
This has not been [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Monday, 16 May 2011 at 10:19 pm

Look Back at the Royal Revenge, Eagle Eye

Look Back at the Royal Revenge

I have not gone on much about the royal snub to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown last month, but I wanted to quote (with permission) from an email I received from Gavin Turner. He says he is “less an admirer of Blair” than me, but he feels that “one’s personal views (or indeed the royal [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Monday, 16 May 2011 at 10:56 am

Military “Failure” in Helmand and Basra, Eagle Eye

Military “Failure” in Helmand and Basra

I’ve had an interesting response to my post on the recent lack of British military success in Afghanistan, which sought to summarise a thesis propounded by Matt Cavanagh, Denis MacShane, Anthony King and Lieutenant General Chris Brown.
Gavin Bailey, lecturer in Politics and International Relations at Dundee University, emailed to say that the buck passing from the [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Sunday, 15 May 2011 at 9:44 pm

Tories cut Labour lead to one point, Eagle Eye

Tories cut Labour lead to one point

David Cameron has emerged from last week’s elections and referendum in a strong position, cutting Labour’s lead to one point in our ComRes poll for The Independent on Sunday and Sunday Mirror tomorrow.
Voting intention
Con       38% (+3)
Lab        39% (nc)
LD          11% (+1)
Others   12% (-4)
(Change since our poll [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Saturday, 14 May 2011 at 7:30 pm

Amis on Hitch, Eagle Eye

Amis on Hitch

I have only just finished Christopher Hitchens’s lovely memoir, Hitch-22. I’m a slow reader, but this time I was slower than usual because I didn’t want to get to the end.
The whole book is a meditation on mortality, as if he were aware of his imminent diagnosis (Hitchens writes about the latest stage of his [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Saturday, 14 May 2011 at 1:32 pm

Poll alert, Eagle Eye

Poll alert

We have a ComRes opinion poll in The Independent on Sunday, shared with the Sunday Mirror, tomorrow.
This will give us a fix on the standing of the parties after the local and devolved elections and the referendum. Our last poll, carried out online rather than the telephone polls that ComRes runs concurrently for the daily [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Saturday, 14 May 2011 at 10:53 am

How to Ban Things and Alienate People, Eagle Eye

How to Ban Things and Alienate People

It has been a busy time for the Banned List on the Twitter. Nominations for inclusion in the next edition are coming in at a steady rate.  The Committee has been sitting in emergency session for several weeks now.
While the compilers work on a new list of Prohibited Clichés, here is something that Graydon Carter, the [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Friday, 13 May 2011 at 7:43 pm

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