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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Have MP3s killed the art of whistling?, Eagle Eye

Have MP3s killed the art of whistling?

Number 529 in the world famous series, asked by the BBC.
Thanks to PaulH61 and Arieh Kovler.

By | Eagle Eye | Thursday, 10 March 2011 at 3:18 pm

He a culpa, Eagle Eye

He a culpa

You have missed your chance. The consultation on the draft Cabinet Manual (pdf), “a users’ guide to governing Britain”, closed yesterday. Sue Cameron, one of many reasons why the Financial Times is such a good newspaper, reports that Gus O’Donnell, the Cabinet Secretary (right), who drew it up, has apologised for a terrible error:
One critic said [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Wednesday, 9 March 2011 at 9:32 pm

Leaning forward, falling over, Eagle Eye

Leaning forward, falling over

Jonathan Powell has a good review of Donald Rumsfeld’s memoir, Known and Unknown, in this week’s New Statesman (not online: buy it here). The book adds little to our knowledge, except that in its “wearing” and “relentless” attempt at self-justification, in which “everyone else was to blame for what went wrong”, it confirms Rumsfeld’s responsibility [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Tuesday, 8 March 2011 at 2:26 pm

Did ‘Mummy’s Curse’ Kill Egyptian Looters?, Eagle Eye

Did ‘Mummy’s Curse’ Kill Egyptian Looters?

Now this is more like it. Number 528 in my series of Questions to Which the Answer is No, asked by Salem News (“Serving Oregon & The Pacific Northwest”). Complete with picture of Howard Carter looking at Tutankhamen’s sarcophagus, taken from a book called Was there really a curse on King Tutankhamen’s tomb?
It follows number [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Monday, 7 March 2011 at 9:39 am

Clegg Makes More Sense Than Cameron Shock, Eagle Eye

Clegg Makes More Sense Than Cameron Shock

By way of footnotes to my columnising in The Independent on Sunday today (Comrade Coren has recently verbed the word column),* it turns out that some people do not recognise my reference to the Mirror of Erised.
This just goes to show that some of us columnisers have a cultural hinterland, doesn’t it? (Do not attempt [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Sunday, 6 March 2011 at 9:27 pm

“Blairites for Browne”, Eagle Eye

“Blairites for Browne”

Peter Mandelson had to be dissuaded from supporting the Coalition’s policy of raising tuition fees, he says in the preface to the paperback edition of his The Third Man:
It was I, after all, who had set up the Browne Review … I assumed, as the Treasury did, that the outcome would have to include a [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Sunday, 6 March 2011 at 11:50 am

Jack Straw on Libya: the Iraq connection, Eagle Eye

Jack Straw on Libya: the Iraq connection

Jack Straw has an important and well-written article in The Times today (pay wall), which augurs well for the quality of his memoirs. He points out that one Arab democracy is often left out of the commentary on the uprising across north Africa and the Middle East — Iraq:
No more than Egypt or Tunisia is it [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Saturday, 5 March 2011 at 12:24 pm

“Murdoch wants to turn Sky News into right-wing news channel like Fox” (contd. p94), Eagle Eye

“Murdoch wants to turn Sky News into right-wing news channel like Fox” (contd. p94)

The Daily Mash sums up the “With One Bound Both Jeremy Hunt and Rupert Murdoch Were Free” dilemma for many of us:
One of the greatest Guardian reader conspiracy theories of the last 20 years was under threat last night after Rupert Murdoch agreed to sell Sky News.
Dozens of left-wing people across north London warned their [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Thursday, 3 March 2011 at 10:17 pm

Qs to Which the A is 0 Bumper Edition, Eagle Eye

Qs to Which the A is 0 Bumper Edition

I’ve lost count because Francis Fukuyama’s 1989 entry may mean I have to go back and renumber them all. But a few more Questions to Which the Answer is No while the committee meets in emergency session:
Number 526, asked by Jon Craig at Sky:
Remember Tony Blair’s headlong dash to invade Iraq in 2003 without a [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Wednesday, 2 March 2011 at 10:27 am

Is David Cameron eclipsing Barack Obama as a world leader?, Eagle Eye

Is David Cameron eclipsing Barack Obama as a world leader?

Number 523 in a series that keeps on giving, of Questions to Which the Answer is No. This one is asked by Nile Gardiner, one of the Pharaoh’s attendants at the Telegraph. No idea what he is on about.

Thanks to Graham, Mark Ferguson and Paddy Briggs.

By | Eagle Eye | Tuesday, 1 March 2011 at 9:52 pm

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