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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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Jack Straw on Deception and Regrets, Eagle Eye

Jack Straw on Deception and Regrets

Jack Straw has given an online interview to Andrew Sparrow of The Guardian, in which he says roughly what would be expected about his role in the plotting against Gordon Brown, the Iraq war and torture. But I thought he had interesting things to say about his decision to return Augusto Pinochet to Chile in [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Saturday, 20 November 2010 at 4:28 pm

Catch-Up Service no 96, Eagle Eye

Catch-Up Service no 96

Quotation of the day, from Anne McElvoy in next month’s Prospect (subscription), is on the struggle of political leaders to avoid becoming “the accompaniment of things that would have happened anyway” (Hans Magnus Enzensberger). Apposite in a week in which David Cameron agreed to advance at least £7bn to help bail out friends and trading partners [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Saturday, 20 November 2010 at 12:35 pm

Portrait of a Blairite Ultra, Eagle Eye

Portrait of a Blairite Ultra

Norman Geras has a profile of me on his otherwise consistently brilliant normblog, to which, in the interests of self-promotion, I feel bound to draw your attention.
(The picture is of William “The Refrigerator” Perry, one of my sporting heroes.)

By | Eagle Eye | Friday, 19 November 2010 at 2:37 pm

Military decision-making: the Afghan case study, Eagle Eye

Military decision-making: the Afghan case study

Terrific long article about policy-making on Afghanistan in next month’s Prospect, by Matt Cavanagh, who was special adviser to Des Browne, Defence Secretary, 2006-7, and to Gordon Brown 2007-10. It is subscription only, so pay up. It takes the form of a book review of Obama’s Wars, by Bob Woodward, but offers a comparative analysis of policy-making in the US and the UK.

By | Eagle Eye | Friday, 19 November 2010 at 2:03 pm

Has Bill Cash become a Europhile?, Eagle Eye

Has Bill Cash become a Europhile?

It hardly counts, because it is Alex Singleton, but he asks number 436 in my series of Questions to Which the Answer is No.

By | Eagle Eye | Thursday, 18 November 2010 at 6:50 pm

The TB-GBs reborn in the Coalition, Eagle Eye

The TB-GBs reborn in the Coalition

James Forsyth has a good article in the forthcoming Spectator on Labour’s low profile. Of course, some of it is to do with the accident of timing of Ed Miliband’s paternity leave, and witticisms such as Daniel Finkelstein’s “When does he start in the new job?” on Newsnight the other night are to be deplored.

By | Eagle Eye | Wednesday, 17 November 2010 at 6:41 pm

A Cheapening of Prime Minister’s Questions, Eagle Eye

A Cheapening of Prime Minister’s Questions

Prime Minister’s Questions was an unexciting encounter, which David Cameron won easily over paternity leave cover Harriet Harman. Except for one casual piece of ritual abuse.

By | Eagle Eye | Wednesday, 17 November 2010 at 6:19 pm

Are electoral changes a fundamental assault on Parliament’s powers?, Eagle Eye

Are electoral changes a fundamental assault on Parliament’s powers?

Yes, it is number 435; asked by Michael Crick, who, along with Jeremy Paxman and Mark Urban, makes Newsnight top telly. He asked the full version of the question on Twitter:
Are Government plans to reduce no of MPs and introduce electoral system changes a fundamental assault on Parliament’s powers?
Interesting report, though.

By | Eagle Eye | Tuesday, 16 November 2010 at 8:23 pm

‘The Big Office of Civil Society’? Is that real?, Eagle Eye

‘The Big Office of Civil Society’? Is that real?

There are so many of them that it is easy to lose count. I called this number 432 when Armando Iannucci (right) asked it on Twitter yesterday, but the committee has now ruled that it is number 434.

By | Eagle Eye | Tuesday, 16 November 2010 at 3:26 pm

Has Tom Harris fallen victim to Ed’s new assertiveness?, Eagle Eye

Has Tom Harris fallen victim to Ed’s new assertiveness?

I thought that Mike Smithson at Political Betting had asked number 432 in my series of Questions to Which the Answer is No when I saw his post this morning.
Glad to have it confirmed by Tom Harris himself (right), in a post-final post on his blog:
What’s provoked me to make this last and final post [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Tuesday, 16 November 2010 at 10:48 am

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