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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Haunted by the spectre of chaos, Eagle Eye

Haunted by the spectre of chaos

The trouble with pedantry is that there is always more of it. I remember the shock of being told, at the age of 24 when I thought I knew everything, that I had misspelt “minuscule”. (By Sarah Benton, the wonderful deputy editor of the New Statesman.) Guy Keleny in his Errors & Omissions column today [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Saturday, 28 May 2011 at 11:54 am

Restart yourself by your own bootstraps, Eagle Eye

Restart yourself by your own bootstraps

I have not updated the Banned List much since it reached 100 prohibitions. The first 100 are here; some additions are here. There is also now in production a secret supplement, compiled under the terms of a superinjunction to which I am not allowed to refer. This is designed to keep you in a state [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Friday, 27 May 2011 at 1:41 pm

“If you set up a school and it becomes a good school …”, Eagle Eye

“If you set up a school and it becomes a good school …”

Taking a break from playing cliché bingo with Barack Obama’s speech (I was going to add “inextricably linked” to the new version of The Banned List, which I am compiling, only to discover that I had added it already), I must find time to record a new study of academy schools (pdf).
The research, by Stephen [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Wednesday, 25 May 2011 at 10:38 pm

Is This Cat a Great Photographer?, Eagle Eye

Is This Cat a Great Photographer?

Fine contribution  to my series of Questions to Which the Answer is No from Huffington Post: number 613.
The sample (right) proves my point.
Meanwhile, my attention has been drawn to this letter to The Daily Telegraph on Saturday:

SIR – I am reminded of an after-dinner game in which guests score points for coming up with a question to [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Tuesday, 24 May 2011 at 9:46 am

A Lesson from The Boss, Eagle Eye

A Lesson from The Boss

For the last session of the Blair Government class at Queen Mary, University of London, the students went to see their subject himself at his London office on Friday. This year’s students were eight when Tony Blair became Prime Minister. (Also in the photograph are some of the postgraduates who help with the course and [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Monday, 23 May 2011 at 10:10 pm

“Plunged Into Chaos Last Night As”, Eagle Eye

“Plunged Into Chaos Last Night As”

Didn’t realise that the Daily Mail Automatic Story Generator had been left on overnight and is still turning out its tasteless satire, until I watched this one-sided clash between David Aaronovitch, sensible person, and Michael Power, conspiracy theorist, on the BBC’s Daily Politics.
These are the words of the first sentence assembled by the DMASG, known [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Monday, 23 May 2011 at 4:29 pm

Let Us Take Ed Miliband Seriously, Eagle Eye

Let Us Take Ed Miliband Seriously

Perhaps it was a little harsh to compare Ed Miliband to Harold Camping, the millennarian who said the world was going to end yesterday.
After all, lots of people had already accused him of making a fool of himself by calling for Ken Clarke’s resignation (including Suzanne Moore, Steve Richards, Mary Dejevsky and Christina Patterson).
Why could I [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Sunday, 22 May 2011 at 9:57 pm

Choice in the NHS, Eagle Eye

Choice in the NHS

A historical jewel in Paul Corrigan’s consistently excellent Health Matters blog earlier this week. He points out that when the first NHS leaflet (pdf, right and below) was delivered to every house in July 1948, it enshrined the principle of patient choice from the start:
When you turned over the first page, the very first thing [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Saturday, 21 May 2011 at 5:51 pm

Miliband’s Bad History, Eagle Eye

Miliband’s Bad History

Ed Miliband has an article in The Guardian this morning, which sets out the themes on which he will elaborate in a speech to Progress shortly. It sets out, in stream-of-cliché form, the leader’s strategy. It is to “chart the future” by being “the optimists, the party with a positive, patriotic mission for our country”.
All one [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Saturday, 21 May 2011 at 12:35 pm

Will this wind be so mighty as to lay low the mountains of the earth?, Eagle Eye

Will this wind be so mighty as to lay low the mountains of the earth?

Here is a classic, but topical, Question to Which the Answer is No from 1962.
Thanks to James.

By | Eagle Eye | Friday, 20 May 2011 at 9:42 pm

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