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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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Internal Tory Matters, Eagle Eye

Internal Tory Matters

Seen on the internet:
Bagehot, in The Economist: “If some Tories hate coalitions so much, they might try winning a majority next time.”
Michael White, Guardian, asks: “Was David Cameron’s quip a way of distancing himself from Andy Coulson?” A question to which the answer is: Possibly.

By | Eagle Eye | Friday, 7 January 2011 at 10:32 pm

Suspect Packages, Eagle Eye

Suspect Packages

Apologies, but the Banned List has to be re-opened again. Print journalists keep referring to their articles as “pieces”. Television journalists, and even some of their studio guests, trying no doubt to sound knowledgeable, keep referring to their reports as “packages”.
You know who you are.

By | Eagle Eye | Friday, 7 January 2011 at 2:00 pm

Freudian Slip by Proxy, Eagle Eye

Freudian Slip by Proxy

I have identified a new medical condition. In Martin Kettle’s excellent online article today about Tony Blair’s attitude to Gordon Brown’s irresponsible overspending, he quotes this passage from Blair’s memoir (pages 574-5) about the Fundamental Savings Review (FSR), the purpose of which was to
move beyond the catch-up investment in public services and instead focus on [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Friday, 7 January 2011 at 12:58 pm

Alternative to Votes for Prisoners, Eagle Eye

Alternative to Votes for Prisoners

On the web today I saw:
This photograph by Saul Loeb (AFP/Getty Images) of White House aides returning with the President from his holiday in Hawaii.
Stephen Newton, an opponent of the Alternative Vote, drawing attention to welcome dawning of good sense at the Electoral Reform Society.
Sunder Katwala, who receives a first warning for trying too hard [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Thursday, 6 January 2011 at 11:15 pm

Hitch on the Haters and the Hated, Eagle Eye

Hitch on the Haters and the Hated

Christopher Hitchens in Vanity Fair on the rage against Tony Blair:
The taunts against him had swollen from run-of-the-mill abuse (“Bush’s poodle,” “Liar,” or sometimes “Bliar”) to full-out hatred. “War criminal!” “Murderer.” The first two public launches of his new memoir, A Journey, had been disrupted or canceled. At a bookstore signing in Dublin [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Thursday, 6 January 2011 at 10:40 pm

Literal Translation, Eagle Eye

Literal Translation

It is a “famous” photograph, apparently, but I haven’t seen it before, so it’s my best of the year. From The Atlantic via Marbury. A sign that is supposed to read “restaurant” in China, where they rely heavily on automated translation. (Marbury also links to this great example of automated translation gone wrong.)

By | Eagle Eye | Thursday, 6 January 2011 at 2:53 pm

Is the Muslim Brotherhood infiltrating the American Right?, Eagle Eye

Is the Muslim Brotherhood infiltrating the American Right?

Number 479 of my Questions to Which the Answer is No is asked by Gene at Harry’s Place. But he is acting merely as a channel for some of the stranger elements of the US conservative movement, who seem to think that Islamists have copied the tactics of the old Revolutionary Socialist League (the Militant [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Thursday, 6 January 2011 at 12:11 pm

Walk the Talk, Eagle Eye

Walk the Talk

The catch-up service:
Charles Arthur, on a device (right) to charge your phone while you walk. Not sure it’ll catch on: it’s one minute walk time for one minute talk time.
Ed Yong, on analysis of language change using Google’s astonishing database of 12 per cent of all books ever published.
David Aaronovitch, in tomorrow’s Times (pay wall), [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Wednesday, 5 January 2011 at 11:15 pm

Mister No, Eagle Eye

Mister No

Samuel Coates tries and fails to ask one of my Questions to Which the Answer is … well, you get the idea:
Do you ever feel like starting a more positive meme, so you’re not Mr No all the time?
To which the answer is Yes: I tried being positive about Britain’s finest peace-time prime minister of [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Wednesday, 5 January 2011 at 10:23 pm

Flaps, Dizzie, Ziggy or Buzzie, Eagle Eye

Flaps, Dizzie, Ziggy or Buzzie

The Saudi Arabians have intercepted a vulture suspected of working for Mossad. First a shark; now this. Thanks to Gabriel Milland. (Photograph of Egyptian vulture by Hakan Perek.)
Other stuff I saw on the internet today:
Iain Martin awards George Osborne a diploma in Advanced Tony Blair Studies.
Ian Birrell’s ode to optimism: “There has never been a better [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Tuesday, 4 January 2011 at 9:42 pm

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