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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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I admit I was wrong, Eagle Eye

I admit I was wrong

If there is one group of internet commenters that rivals the Blair-haters for vituperation and dogmatism, it is the cannabis-legalisers. My article in The Independent on Sunday today, in which I argue (against the Cardoso Commission, right) that drugs that are illegal should stay illegal, has provoked them.
Several commenters have angrily demanded (a) that I [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Sunday, 5 June 2011 at 5:29 pm

Is this a secret space station on Mars?, Eagle Eye

Is this a secret space station on Mars?

The Daily Mail storybot generated this automatic headline on the website’s front page (copied, right, because it will presumably be taken off the front page soon), but put a straight headline on the story itself. Still, a worthy number 617 for my series of Questions to Which the Answer is No.
Thanks to Paul McConville.
And here [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Sunday, 5 June 2011 at 3:35 pm

Were the Smurfs Nazis?, Eagle Eye

Were the Smurfs Nazis?

Number 616 in my series of Questions to Which the Answer is No is asked by Tim Karan at Newser.
The Smurfs were socialists and “the embodiment of a totalitarian utopia, steeped in Stalinism and Nazism,” says Antoine Buéno, a French sociologist, in a new book, Le Petit Livre Bleu.
Thanks to Andrew Scheuber.
And number 615 was [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Saturday, 4 June 2011 at 10:16 am

Confirmation hearings for Supreme Court judges?, Eagle Eye

Confirmation hearings for Supreme Court judges?

James Grant in this month’s Prospect has raised the issue again of the composition of the Supreme Court (new chamber, right), what we know of the judges’ ideological leanings, and whether we should have American-style confirmation hearings on their appointment.
Alexander Horne, in his paper last year on the problems of confirmation hearings for Supreme Court [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Friday, 3 June 2011 at 1:45 pm

Diluting the Blairite Revolution, Eagle Eye

Diluting the Blairite Revolution

A well-informed reader writes with a useful corrective comment on my recent blog and article about the academies revolution:
You make a big implicit assumption, which is that the findings of the encouraging Machin and Vernoit research (pdf) into the previous Government’s academies (which were schools that had previously been poorly performing) can be applied to [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Wednesday, 1 June 2011 at 9:19 pm

Gall’s Law, Eagle Eye

Gall’s Law

A letter to The Independent today:
There is an informal rule in internet comments that any comparison with Hitler and the Nazis immediately closes the discussion and causes the person who made the reference to lose the debate. Perhaps we could have a similar rule to be invoked when anyone blames events today on the prime minister [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Wednesday, 1 June 2011 at 1:45 pm

Is this a squadron of UFOs flying over California?, Eagle Eye

Is this a squadron of UFOs flying over California?

They have done it again. Left the autostorybot on overnight. And this is the sort of gibberish it produces. Oh well. Number 614 in my series of Questions to Which the Answer is No.
And once again, first spotted by Oliver Kamm. He’s good at this, you know.

By | Eagle Eye | Tuesday, 31 May 2011 at 5:39 pm

Will Kissinger, Bush & Blair Be Brought Before the International Court?, Eagle Eye

Will Kissinger, Bush & Blair Be Brought Before the International Court?

Mark Seddon, former editor of Tribune, re-asks number 180 in my series of Questions to Which the Answer is No. It is a common enough way of saying “I didn’t agree with the Iraq war” but each time the questioner manages to add another layer of insult.
With Philippe Sands it was to compare Tony Blair’s [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Monday, 30 May 2011 at 5:41 pm

Competition, competition and competition, Eagle Eye

Competition, competition and competition

Prophet in own land. Vindication too late. That was the gist of my column for The Independent on Sunday yesterday, in which I celebrated the irrefutable demonstration that competition in schools provision raises standards not just in academies but in neighbouring schools. (On which I commented here last week.)
If I had had space, I would [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Monday, 30 May 2011 at 3:39 pm

Is this Bigfoot caught on video?, Eagle Eye

Is this Bigfoot caught on video?

I do not know what number this is in my series of Questions to Which the Answer is No, because I cannot find the first time I asked (and answered) it.
But the Daily Mail is now asking it again, and quoting a woman who insists that it really is Bigfoot this time.
Update: I’ve found it. [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Saturday, 28 May 2011 at 5:34 pm

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