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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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“No” campaign extends lead to 6 points, Eagle Eye

“No” campaign extends lead to 6 points

Our ComRes poll in The Independent on Sunday and Sunday Mirror tomorrow shows the No vote opening up a six-point lead in the referendum campaign.
Since January we have asked the official question, as it will appear on the ballot paper on 5 May:
At present, the UK uses the “first past the post” system to elect [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Saturday, 16 April 2011 at 7:30 pm

Did Marlene Dietrich plot to murder Hitler?, Eagle Eye

Did Marlene Dietrich plot to murder Hitler?

Now that the Daily Mail has professionalised its operation, its contribution this morning, number 586 in my series of Questions to Which the Answer is No, is as fine an example of the genre as one could hope to see.
And, as if to illustrate the flexibility of the device, it follows number 585, asked last [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Saturday, 16 April 2011 at 10:50 am

Poll alert, Eagle Eye

Poll alert

We have a ComRes poll in tomorrow’s Independent on Sunday, shared with the Sunday Mirror, which has asked a lot of questions about the Coalition, one year on, the Alternative Vote referendum and the royal wedding.
In addition to voting intention in the theoretical general election that might occur tomorrow, and in the referendum on the [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Saturday, 16 April 2011 at 10:06 am

Doctor Who – a threat to the political and social order?, Eagle Eye

Doctor Who – a threat to the political and social order?

Number 582 in my series of Questions to Which the Answer is No is asked by Jonathan Jones at The Guardian. (Christopher Eccleston, Ninth and Best Doctor, right.)
Number 583, as Norman Geras points out, manages both to be a QTWTAIN and to invoke Godwin’s Law in the space of a single headline.
France’s burqa ban: Has [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Saturday, 16 April 2011 at 8:19 am

Questions to Which the Answer is Nyet, Eagle Eye

Questions to Which the Answer is Nyet

“Is Russia’s puppet president ready to stand up to his master?”
Well, the Telegraph changed the headline to “Is Dmitry Medvedev ready to stand up to Vladimir Putin?”, but the original is preserved in the url (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/8451710/Is-Russias-puppet-president-ready-to-stand-up-to-his-master.html)
Is that because they realised that a puppet cannot stand up to his master unless the blue fairy turns him [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Friday, 15 April 2011 at 10:14 pm

Should Zsa Zsa Gabor Become a New Mom at Age 94?, Eagle Eye

Should Zsa Zsa Gabor Become a New Mom at Age 94?

Um, wait. Er, I know the answer to this one. Anyway, this is number 579 in the unstoppable series.  Thank you to Damian Counsell at PootBlog.
Zsa Zsa Gabor, at age younger than 94, right.

By | Eagle Eye | Friday, 15 April 2011 at 9:59 pm

Michael Meacher Demands an Inquiry into Why He Was So Useless, Eagle Eye

Michael Meacher Demands an Inquiry into Why He Was So Useless

A former minister has demanded an official investigation into his approval of a controversial nuclear fuel plant at Sellafield in Cumbria, reports The Independent.
“Tony Blair made me do it,” said Mr Meacher, 71. “Only a full public judicial inquiry into why I took a decision with which I didn’t agree would put this matter to [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Friday, 15 April 2011 at 9:43 pm

Is Sunday School the root of all evil?, Eagle Eye

Is Sunday School the root of all evil?

Has the series of Questions to Which the Answer is No jumped the shark? That’s number 577, and the specimen above, from the Telegraph blogs, is 578.
I do not care that the Daily Mail has realised that I was making fun of it and is therefore manufacturing QTWTAINs solely for the purpose of seeing them [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Friday, 15 April 2011 at 12:21 pm

Stuff their mouths with gold, part III, Eagle Eye

Stuff their mouths with gold, part III

“I stuffed their mouths with gold.”
Aneurin Bevan, the founder of the National Health Service,* explained at a private dinner circa 1956 how he had secured the doctors’ consent for the 1948 settlement. It was a remark made public by Professor Brian Abel-Smith only in 1964. (Nicholas Timmins, The Five Giants, p115.)
Unfortunately, the British Medical Association, one of [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Thursday, 14 April 2011 at 10:36 pm

Socially mobile politicians, Eagle Eye

Socially mobile politicians

Zac Murdoch made an interesting point in a comment on my post yesterday announcing that “social mobility” had been added to the Banned List. I had said that Alan Milburn, David Blunkett and Alan Johnson were evidence that people brought up in poverty could reach the top in politics at least:
It’s notable that the three [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Thursday, 14 April 2011 at 6:04 pm

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