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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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Origins of the Cameron-Balls Feud, Eagle Eye

Origins of the Cameron-Balls Feud

In tracing the origins of David Cameron’s hostility towards Ed Balls, I couldn’t dredge my profile of the shadow chancellor – he was then Children’s Secretary – for GQ, March 2009, from the internet. So I reproduce it here, because it includes the bit about Balls taking the fourth highest First in Philosophy, Politics and [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Wednesday, 30 March 2011 at 5:25 pm

“The Most Annoying Person in Modern Politics”, Eagle Eye

“The Most Annoying Person in Modern Politics”

David Cameron’s loss of temper with Ed Balls, who was barracking him at Prime Minister’s Questions, instantly turned an unmemorable session into one that will enter the folklore.
On the substance of the clash between the principals, I thought Ed Miliband got the better of the Prime Minister on tuition fees, but lost on police numbers. [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Wednesday, 30 March 2011 at 1:51 pm

The Golden Rule Revisited, Eagle Eye

The Golden Rule Revisited

Anyhow, my purpose in trying to get to grips with deficit reduction plans was to strengthen my defences against my admirable colleague, Steve Richards, who in his column in The Independent today urges Ed Miliband and Ed Balls to reject my advice:
They must not fall into the trap of apologising for the level of spending [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Tuesday, 29 March 2011 at 9:59 pm

What does “too far, too fast” mean?, Eagle Eye

What does “too far, too fast” mean?

What is the difference between Labour’s plan to cut the deficit and the Coalition plan?
Two nuggets prompted this. One was George Osborne’s assertion that the Labour plan set out by Alistair Darling before the election was for spending cuts only £2bn smaller than the £16bn he was proposing for this fiscal year, 2011-12.
The other was [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Tuesday, 29 March 2011 at 2:03 pm

British action in Libya (still) unpopular, Eagle Eye

British action in Libya (still) unpopular

I thought the difference between ComRes, showing public opinion against British military action in Libya, and YouGov, showing support, was down to timing. ComRes’s survey for ITV News was carried out just before and just after the planes went in on 19 March. YouGov’s surveys have been carried out wholly afterwards.
But ComRes continued (on Friday) [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Monday, 28 March 2011 at 10:00 pm

“Obama is Awesome”: the transcript, Eagle Eye

“Obama is Awesome”: the transcript

Can’t seem to update my blog on the “Obama is Awesome” video without losing the embed code.
One of my friends, who took a reasonable view in opposition to British participation in the Iraq invasion, didn’t appreciate it. “A crude caricature of a small portion of the anti-war majority in the US, mixed with some of [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Monday, 28 March 2011 at 2:54 pm

Second City Blues, Eagle Eye

Second City Blues

Just caught up with a speech (pdf) given by Andrew Adonis, former Transport Secretary and driving force behind the academy schools programme, in Birmingham the other day.
Former Cabinet ministers tend not to give interesting speeches, but this is an exception. The Liberal Democrat deputy leader of Birmingham council found it a little too interesting for [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Sunday, 27 March 2011 at 5:03 pm

“Obama is Awesome”, Eagle Eye

“Obama is Awesome”

Thanks to Blair Supporter for finding this fabulous YouTube film entitled “Coworkers Compare Iraq and Libya”. Satirising anti-war arguments against the Iraq war, he asks if she is happy that “Obomber” is attacking a country that has no WMD and innocent civilians will die. She responds: “Obama is awesome.” Or: “Obama is cool and awesome.” [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Saturday, 26 March 2011 at 10:26 pm

“Anybody who doesn’t have regrets is an idiot”, Eagle Eye

“Anybody who doesn’t have regrets is an idiot”

I haven’t covered Blair hatred for a while. It’s pretty irrelevant and I was getting no closer to understanding its psychopathology.
When a commenter on this blog says, “Blair is worse than Hitler, not in terms of scale, but in terms of honesty”, there doesn’t seem much point in even noting it. And just because Katharine [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Saturday, 26 March 2011 at 6:35 pm

Running Commentary by Paddy Ashdown, Eagle Eye

Running Commentary by Paddy Ashdown

Paddy Ashdown is interviewed by Rachel Sylvester and Alice Thomson in The Times today (pay wall). He is accurately rude about the Labour Party’s positioning:
He predicts that Labour will look increasingly like “a bunch of superannuated students shouting from the sidelines”.
But what is more interesting is his scepticism about the NHS reforms:
If someone asks me, [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Saturday, 26 March 2011 at 5:35 pm

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