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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Time has run out for defence of indefensible, Eagle Eye

Time has run out for defence of indefensible

A correspondent asked me, as a defender of the academy schools programme, how I responded to the letter to the Times Educational Supplement last week, headlined “Time is running out for defence of indefensible”. It was from a group of people who looked as if they knew what they were talking about, saying that academies performed [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Friday, 6 May 2011 at 1:20 pm

Shades of Grey, Eagle Eye

Shades of Grey

I admire Jemima Khan. Her guest-edited edition of the New Statesman recently was a triumph. But her comment in this week’s edition, in which several notables were asked if they regretted voting Liberal Democrat in last year’s general election, contains a crashing non sequitur:
I was very clear about who I did not want to vote [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Thursday, 5 May 2011 at 9:55 pm

Is TV Too Gay?, Eagle Eye

Is TV Too Gay?

Number 603 in my series of Questions to Which the Answer is No is asked by Fox TV, concerned about the appearance of two gay high-school couples in the latest instalment of Glee, which I believe to be a popular comedy drama series, although it may also contain elements of the oxymoron “reality show”. (Thanks [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Thursday, 5 May 2011 at 8:50 pm

After the AV horse has bolted …, Eagle Eye

After the AV horse has bolted …

An unrepeatable opportunity for those of you who just cannot get enough of the referendum debate about the Alternative Vote. A chance to hear Alan Renwick, author of the acclaimed Political Studies Association guide to the subject (pdf), Robert Colvile, Comment Editor for The Sunday Telegraph who looks about 16 and is an anti, and [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Wednesday, 4 May 2011 at 10:38 pm

Are al-Qa’ida and the Taliban driven by the desire to help others?, Eagle Eye

Are al-Qa’ida and the Taliban driven by the desire to help others?

A worthy entry at number 602 in the chart of Questions to Which the Answer is No is supplied by Aditya Chakrabortty at The Guardian.
It is actually an interesting article about research by psychologists and economists into the motivations of suicide bombers. Although it is spoiled by Chakrabortty’s apparent endorsement of the facile conclusions one [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 10:54 am

Justice for Bin Laden?, Eagle Eye

Justice for Bin Laden?

Norman Geras asks a rare and unexpected Question to Which the Answer is Yes But Not in That Way.
The usual moonbats around the internet will conform to Sadie Smith’s Law, which is that [Osama bin Laden's Death][Big News Story] Will Prove Us All Right, by saying that what happened in Abbottabad (which sounds like an English [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Monday, 2 May 2011 at 7:02 pm

Blair on the Royal Family, Eagle Eye

Blair on the Royal Family

I write about why Tony Blair and Gordon Brown might not have been invited to the royal wedding in The Independent on Sunday today.

By | Eagle Eye | Sunday, 1 May 2011 at 5:49 pm

Getting in touch with my inner Cromwell, Eagle Eye

Getting in touch with my inner Cromwell

The wedding was quite interesting, and I am all for street parties, but I thought the refusal to invite Tony Blair and Gordon Brown was a spiteful act by an institution that cannot forgive Blair for having rescued it after the death of Diana in 1997.

By | Eagle Eye | Saturday, 30 April 2011 at 5:53 pm

Does PM Have a Death Wish?, Eagle Eye

Does PM Have a Death Wish?

Number 601 in my series of Questions to Which the Answer is No was asked by the indispensable Paul Waugh yesterday of David Cameron’s instant footnote in history, “Calm down, dear.”

By | Eagle Eye | Thursday, 28 April 2011 at 3:46 pm

Mr Lansley sells his plan, Eagle Eye

Mr Lansley sells his plan

The Health Secretary has given an interview to Total Politics. I do not think it is unfair to quote the one substantial paragraph in full:
What people are frightened by is change and what people see is the security of the hierarchy of management. We are all very clear that if you are going to transfer [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Wednesday, 27 April 2011 at 10:52 pm

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