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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1931 And All That, Part I, Eagle Eye

1931 And All That, Part I

2 February 1931 John Clynes (Lab), Home Secretary (right):
It is not claimed for the alternative vote that it is an absolutely accurate method. Even in this matter, as in so many other matters, a Labour Government must fall short of absolute perfection. It does, however, prevent the election of a candidate against the wishes of [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Tuesday, 15 February 2011 at 2:37 pm

Does the Alternative Vote Bring Tyranny to Australia?, Eagle Eye

Does the Alternative Vote Bring Tyranny to Australia?

Number 510 in the never-ending series of Questions to Which the Answer is No is asked by Antony Green, an Australian elections pundit.
It recalls the contribution made to the debate in the House of Commons on 4 March 1931 by Captain Anthony Eden (right):
I happened to be in Australia in 1925 when, by the working of this [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Tuesday, 15 February 2011 at 2:07 pm

Vote Yes to AV for Mass Unemployment, Eagle Eye

Vote Yes to AV for Mass Unemployment

I promised not to write any more about the Alternative Vote in the newspaper, but I am still allowed to go on about it here. I am in favour of AV in principle, and opposed to proportional representation. It is not the most important thing, but it is a simple change that would give everyone [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Tuesday, 15 February 2011 at 1:35 pm

Hands Off and Give Us the Money, Eagle Eye

Hands Off and Give Us the Money

Dan Hodges. Wrong on AV. Right about the Big Society. His post at Labour Uncut is excellent:
The prime minister announced, with a flourish, his ‘big idea’. ‘Our purse is empty. But do not worry. The voluntary sector will shoulder the burden.’ The volunteers looked up with a start. ‘But we can’t. You’ve taken all our [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Tuesday, 15 February 2011 at 11:27 am

Not only the BBC is sneering and wrong, Eagle Eye

Not only the BBC is sneering and wrong

Two features in The Guardian are consistently worth reading. The “Corrections and Clarifications” column and Steve Bell.* The C&C column is like a disclosing tablet for LBLM&C† bias, and today’s is a fine example:
A report on the revolution in Egypt incorrectly stated that Hosni Mubarak “was on a plane with his family to Sharm el-Sheikh, where [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Tuesday, 15 February 2011 at 10:19 am

The Centrifugal Factor, Eagle Eye

The Centrifugal Factor

One subterranean feature of the political landscape could add to the stresses on the Coalition over the next two years or so.
In a number of conversations with MPs recently, boundary changes have come up. They are required by the cut in the number of MPs from 650 to 600 at the next election. This means [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Monday, 14 February 2011 at 6:46 pm

Jeremy Paxman: “Inappropriate, sneering, partial”, Eagle Eye

Jeremy Paxman: “Inappropriate, sneering, partial”

Only three months after the event this time, but the BBC has grudgingly accepted that Jeremy Paxman breached the BBC’s Charter obligation of impartiality with his article in The Guardian about which I wrote in December.
As reported in The Independent on Sunday, Helen Boaden, director of BBC News, has upheld part of the complaint made [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Sunday, 13 February 2011 at 2:16 pm

Yes Campaign for Voting Reform Stretches Lead

For tomorrow’s Independent on Sunday, ComRes again asked people the official question that will be put in the referendum on changing the voting system. The Yes vote has gained from the don’t knows since last month:
At present, the UK uses the “first past the post” system to elect MPs to the House of Commons. Should [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Saturday, 12 February 2011 at 7:30 pm

“Big Society Cover for Cuts”: Poll, Eagle Eye

“Big Society Cover for Cuts”: Poll

Not much joy for the Coalition in our ComRes poll for tomorrow’s Independent on Sunday, shared with the Sunday Mirror. Labour’s lead has firmed up at six points; our tracker questions on public spending cuts have all moved against the Government; and people are unimpressed by the Big Society.
Voting intention:
Con           [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Saturday, 12 February 2011 at 7:25 pm

Lifting the Yoke of NuLiebour Oppression, Eagle Eye

Lifting the Yoke of NuLiebour Oppression

Hurrah for the Freedom Bill, published yesterday.
Nick Clegg wrote a dreadful article for the Daily Telegraph to mark the historic occasion. It was riddled with clichés, including ”hard won British liberties” and the misuse of decimate, and rendered hard to read by bad grammar. As George Orwell said, bad writing betrays muddled thinking.
For those of you who have difficulty [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Saturday, 12 February 2011 at 12:00 pm

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