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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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Filibusters and First Principles, Eagle Eye

Filibusters and First Principles

Thanks to Danny Finkelstein (pay wall), I’ve just remembered the Salisbury Convention:
The Conservatives found a way to address (or more correctly try and address – I don’t think it will succeed) anti-politician sentiment and the difficulties they have with seat distribution with one measure – reducing the number of MPs. This was in their manifesto [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Wednesday, 19 January 2011 at 7:27 pm

Has Michael Gove just come out for a general election pact with the Liberal Democrats?, Eagle Eye

Has Michael Gove just come out for a general election pact with the Liberal Democrats?

Number 490 in my series of Questions to Which the Answer is No is asked by Paul Goodman, the excellent former Tory MP at Conservative Home. Speaking of the voters of Hull, Michael Gove said:
If they’re wise enough to vote Liberal Democrat at the next local elections in Hull, or for the Conservatives in any [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Wednesday, 19 January 2011 at 6:02 pm

Gus O’Donnell is right, Eagle Eye

Gus O’Donnell is right

More work for the Rebuttal Service. My colleagues in the LBLM&C (London-based liberal media and culturati) will be excited in tomorrow’s newspapers about Sir John Chilcot’s exchange of correspondence with Sir Gus O’Donnell, the Cabinet Secretary (below), which the Iraq Inquiry published today.
Sir John says he is “disappointed” that Sir Gus won’t agree to the [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Tuesday, 18 January 2011 at 10:53 pm

Is organic donkey milk the next big thing?, Eagle Eye

Is organic donkey milk the next big thing?

Number 488 in the series that goes on giving, of Questions to Which the Answer is No, is asked by the Soil Association, of this Guardian report.
Thank you to James Whetlor.
Number 487, meanwhile, will be asked by Jim O’Neill, Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, according to Policy Exchange:
Do Any Of Us Understand The Modern World?

By | Eagle Eye | Tuesday, 18 January 2011 at 12:18 pm

Breach. Once More. Unto., Eagle Eye

Breach. Once More. Unto.

Breaking News: The Daily Mail and The Independent still disagree with the invasion of Iraq.
I said yesterday that I expected the statement by Peter Goldsmith, the former Attorney General, published by the Iraq Inquiry, to be reported calmly today. And my esteemed colleagues Michael Savage and Andy McSmith indeed reported and analysed it pretty straight. [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Tuesday, 18 January 2011 at 10:27 am

Order to Go at Ed’s Diner, Eagle Eye

Order to Go at Ed’s Diner

The Daily Politics sent me to Ed’s Diner for today’s programme to explain why I still don’t think Ed Miliband is the right leader for the Labour Party.

Which preceded a studio discussion with Chuka Umunna, Miliband’s parliamentary private secretary, and Charles Falconer, left over from a previous discussion about Labour’s attempt to split the AV [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Monday, 17 January 2011 at 4:29 pm

A Question to Which the Answer was No, Eagle Eye

A Question to Which the Answer was No

I saw only a small part of Ed Miliband’s interview with Andrew Marr this morning. Enough to know that he looked and sounded more confident than he did in yesterday’s disappointing speech.
Now I have had time to read the transcript, and can confirm my assumption in the previous post that, while the style might have [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Sunday, 16 January 2011 at 8:13 pm

Commerce and the Common Good, Eagle Eye

Commerce and the Common Good

Ed Miliband won good notices for his interview with Andrew Marr this morning, which help to offset the poor reviews of his speech to the Fabian Society yesterday.
Much of this is to do with style, which is important (good today, not so good yesterday), but my column for The Independent on Sunday is about the [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Sunday, 16 January 2011 at 11:22 am

Six-Point Lead for Yes Campaign in AV Referendum, Eagle Eye

Six-Point Lead for Yes Campaign in AV Referendum

ComRes for the The Independent on Sunday and Sunday Mirror tomorrow asked the official question drafted by the Electoral Commission (the Government’s earlier version, right) for the referendum in May:
At present, the UK uses the “first past the post” system to elect MPs to the House of Commons.  Should the “alternative vote” system be used instead?
Yes 36%
No 30%
Don’t [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Saturday, 15 January 2011 at 7:30 pm

Poll Alert, Eagle Eye

Poll Alert

We have a ComRes opinion poll in tomorrow’s Independent on Sunday and Sunday Mirror. As well as the usual voting intention question, we have asked people how they would vote in the May referendum by putting to them the wording of the official question, proposed by the Electoral Commission:
At present, the UK uses the “first [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Saturday, 15 January 2011 at 11:19 am

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