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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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Crime, punishment and car crashes, Eagle Eye

Crime, punishment and car crashes

Crime and punishment has looked like one of the Coalition’s weak spots since the start, and Kenneth Clarke would have been specially vulnerable if Ed Miliband had not decided to try to out-liberal the Government on the issue.
Now Clarke is telling the BBC that he is ditching Tory election promise that anyone found carrying a [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Monday, 6 December 2010 at 6:38 pm

Could scientists be on the verge of inventing a Dr Who-style sonic screwdriver?, Eagle Eye

Could scientists be on the verge of inventing a Dr Who-style sonic screwdriver?

Number 459 in the world-famous series is asked by the Daily Mail today.
Thanks to Torybear, aka Harry Cole.
As a bonus pedantry point, I think that Doctor Who does not take the contraction Dr. This is something that I discovered years ago in the steam age of Google, when searching for the short form.
Meanwhile, the great [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Monday, 6 December 2010 at 3:06 pm

Privilege and Inequality, Eagle Eye

Privilege and Inequality

This is the first sentence of Ed Miliband’s article in The Observer:
A defining test of this government will be whether their plans to cut the deficit and roll back the state will entrench privilege and inequality still further.
What does he mean “still further”? Is he saying that privilege and inequality were further entrenched during the [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Sunday, 5 December 2010 at 9:27 pm

Is Mike Hancock MP a threat to national security?, Eagle Eye

Is Mike Hancock MP a threat to national security?

We’re up to number 458 now in my Questions to Which the Answer is No. This one is asked by Max Wind-Cowie at Muscular Liberal, apparently seriously, about today’s spy scandal concerning Katia Zatuliveter, a Russian research assistant to a Liberal Democrat MP.
File under Reds Under the Beds (Comedy).
Thanks to farneygirl1.
Photograph via the BBC.

By | Eagle Eye | Sunday, 5 December 2010 at 7:31 pm

Child Poverty Inaction Group, Eagle Eye

Child Poverty Inaction Group

The Independent on Sunday carries a letter today from Alison Garnham, Chief Executive of the Child Poverty Action Group:
John Rentoul suggests government child poverty targets are arbitrary or unachievable, but they have been achieved by other European nations, so there is no reason we cannot achieve them, too (“The right to speak truth unto prejudice”, 28 November).
Around a [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Sunday, 5 December 2010 at 1:48 pm

Nick Clegg: Complete and Unabridged, Eagle Eye

Nick Clegg: Complete and Unabridged

The Deputy Prime Minister was interviewed on Friday by my colleague Matt Chorley for today’s Independent on Sunday. It was a combative and defiant performance, with a trace of arrogance – ”Vince and I have been living this [tuition fees] for months, they [other Lib Dem MPs] haven’t.” I have written about Clegg, a lucky politician, in [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Sunday, 5 December 2010 at 12:01 am

“What do we (not) want?”, Eagle Eye

“What do we (not) want?”

Also in pedantry, I am engaged in a debate about whether the Oldham East and Saddleworth election is a by-election or not (we’re currently leaning to yes, but someone has contacted the Electoral Commission for a definitive ruling).
Meanwhile, thanks to Paddy Briggs, number 54 on The Banned List is “storyline” as a verb. Not that [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Saturday, 4 December 2010 at 5:26 pm

Exponential growth in misuse of exponential, Eagle Eye

Exponential growth in misuse of exponential

Guy Keleny proves, once again, that he is the finest exponent of pedantry with his philippic against the misuse of exponential in today’s Errors & Omissions column in The Independent:
Last Saturday, one columnist noted the increasing number of people who consider themselves middle class. Once “middle class” had been an insult. No longer: “Now that [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Saturday, 4 December 2010 at 4:50 pm

Verb Oten, Eagle Eye

Verb Oten

Number 53 on The Banned List is toilet used as a verb.

By | Eagle Eye | Friday, 3 December 2010 at 3:50 pm

Phil Woolas and the Truth: the Re-Match, Eagle Eye

Phil Woolas and the Truth: the Re-Match

The judgment of the three High Court judges in Phil Woolas’s appeal case makes fascinating reading and is a fine and rigorous clarification of the law. I draw the honourable reader’s attention to paragraphs 113, 117, 121 and 124 in particular.

By | Eagle Eye | Friday, 3 December 2010 at 2:03 pm

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