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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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Clegg and the Centre Ground, Eagle Eye

Clegg and the Centre Ground

People have made the mistake of misjudging Nick Clegg before.
One nugget in Steve Richards’s Whatever It Takes is that Miriam “had her doubts” about the “sudden transformation” in her husband’s public status as a result of his good showing in the televised debates. She was “intelligently sceptical about the theatrical dimension in British politics”, he [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Saturday, 18 September 2010 at 5:31 pm

End of the World Was Nigh, Eagle Eye

End of the World Was Nigh

Terrific anecdote from Steve Richards’s Whatever It Takes, which I am reviewing for The Independent on Sunday next week. As queues formed outside branches of Northern Rock during Lib Dem conference in 2007, a “senior cabinet minister” told Richards he had just received a call from Will Hutton, the economist and former editor of The [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Saturday, 18 September 2010 at 11:22 am

Is Carole Caplin set to blow the lid on Tony and Cherie Blair’s sex secrets?, Eagle Eye

Is Carole Caplin set to blow the lid on Tony and Cherie Blair’s sex secrets?

I think we’ll put this from today’s Daily Innuendo down as number 387 in the long-running series.
It also belongs in a separate series, known as “How Journalism Works” (earlier entries here), not just for the use of seven further questions in the body of the article but for the ingenious use of “set to” in [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Saturday, 18 September 2010 at 10:05 am

The Politics of the Morgue, Eagle Eye

The Politics of the Morgue

Quotation of the day, from Paul Sinclair, who worked in No 10 under Gordon Brown, and who had this to say of his colleagues’ approach to politics to Steve Richards for his Radio 4 programme next week:
There was a line in The Untouchables that Sean Connery’s character [second from left] uses – ‘If they pull [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Friday, 17 September 2010 at 1:13 pm

The Stupid Shadow Cabinet Election, Eagle Eye

The Stupid Shadow Cabinet Election

Lesley Smith, who says she “worked for the Parliamentary Labour Party in the last century and the private sector since”, has an excellent article on Labour Uncut entitled, “Shadow cabinet elections are stupid enough without voting stupidly too.”
True on both points. One of the unfortunate consequences of not holding an early leadership election is that [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Friday, 17 September 2010 at 1:05 pm

He said what?, Eagle Eye

He said what?

This blog has so far been a Pope-free zone. Then I received an email press release from the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights in America headed, “Atheists must apologize for Hitler.” I was going to press delete, which is what I do with crank emails, when I noticed that it attributed a quotation [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Thursday, 16 September 2010 at 10:26 pm

“A Man of Conscience”, Eagle Eye

“A Man of Conscience”

Who writes this of whom?
[He] ranked spiritual truth above all other values. He was willing to alienate anyone, old friends and future ones, in its pursuit … He would do what he thought right however uncomfortable or unpopular it would be.
You have to admire this intellectual courage … “A man of conscience is one who [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Thursday, 16 September 2010 at 2:27 pm

“Roughly 15″ protest against peace-loving democrat, Eagle Eye

“Roughly 15″ protest against peace-loving democrat

I know I overuse the word priceless. But this is priceless. Word for word, from The Harvard Crimson, the oldest college newspaper in America:
A crowd of roughly fifteen locals gathered to protest the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s appearance last night at Harvard Square’s First Parish Cambridge Church, a scene that a passerby said [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Thursday, 16 September 2010 at 11:10 am

The world’s economic centre of gravity, Eagle Eye

The world’s economic centre of gravity

One of the more irritating truisms of Tony Blair’s A Journey, and his standard globalisation speech, is that the centre of economic gravity is moving from west to east. But so it is, and here is the graphic:

It is produced by Danny Quah, professor in economics at the LSE, in the second issue of LSE [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Wednesday, 15 September 2010 at 10:35 pm

A Journey: Review of Reviews, Eagle Eye

A Journey: Review of Reviews

Now that I have read A Journey thoroughly, I am reading some of the reviews. Someone with a sense of humour at The Sunday Times had the idea of asking Robert Harris to write one (pay wall). He managed to hold back from mentioning the “disastrous Iraq war” until the eighth paragraph.
If you want a [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Wednesday, 15 September 2010 at 3:14 pm

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