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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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Dead parrots, rap and a red head, Eagle Eye

Dead parrots, rap and a red head

My commentary on David Cameron’s speech for The Independent is here. Three bits for which there wasn’t space are here:
Remember what they said about us? They called us a dead parrot. They said we had ceased to be. That we were an ex-party. Turns out we really were only resting.
This was the first joke, an [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Thursday, 7 October 2010 at 1:25 pm

Was Cameron playing a little too freely with Balls quote?, Eagle Eye

Was Cameron playing a little too freely with Balls quote?

Never mind the innuendo, this, asked by Michael Crick, Newsnight’s political editor, is number 395 in my series of Questions to Which the Answer is No. I must admit that I assumed, when David Cameron in his conference speech today quoted Ed Balls, that he had distorted the shadow shadow chancellor’s meaning:
Ed Balls, the man [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Wednesday, 6 October 2010 at 10:26 pm

Sofa, so good, Eagle Eye

Sofa, so good

Obvious from Theresa May on Newsnight last night, Iain Duncan Smith in The Independent this morning and Eric Pickles on ITV News just now that the Cabinet was not consulted about the decision to abolish child benefit for higher-rate income-tax payers.
But where oh where are the Peter Hennessys, Henry Porters, Peter Obornes and all the [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Wednesday, 6 October 2010 at 2:21 pm

Mustard Corduroys, Eagle Eye

Mustard Corduroys

In one of the small variations from the speech he gave to Conservative conference last year, the year before that and the year before that, Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, played Classic Canon Bingo with his admiring audience yesterday.
Most Tory representatives had ticked off each name and were shouting “House!” by the time he got [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Wednesday, 6 October 2010 at 1:54 pm

Is the Channel Wider than the Atlantic?, Eagle Eye

Is the Channel Wider than the Atlantic?

I know the answer to this one! It’s number 394 in the series. Thanks to Robert for supplying this photograph.

Sorry – I missed number 392. That was asked on Saturday by champion contributor Mike Smithson at Political Betting:
Is Balls at Defence the coalition’s biggest fear?

By | Eagle Eye | Monday, 4 October 2010 at 8:08 pm

Why Fox Might Have Leaked, Eagle Eye

Why Fox Might Have Leaked

A rather unenlightening “Diary of a Civil Servant” in The Observer yesterday. Its anonymous author opines that “leakers have different motives”, and suggests that ministers and their advisers sometimes leak “for political advantage”.
The most vulnerable time for any minister is when their policy proposal is sent round a cabinet committee for approval. If a colleague [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Monday, 4 October 2010 at 7:25 pm

Did Aristotle Onassis order Robert Kennedy shooting?, Eagle Eye

Did Aristotle Onassis order Robert Kennedy shooting?

Number 393 in my series of Questions to Which the Answer is No is asked by Irish Central.
The first paragraph of its report is number 393a, rephrasing the question in fuller and sillier form:
Did Aristotle Onassis have Bobby Kennedy [right] killed by a member of the PLO in October 1968 because Bobby was trying to [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Monday, 4 October 2010 at 2:31 pm

Another reason Labour members might vote No, Eagle Eye

Another reason Labour members might vote No

David Herdson at Political Betting asks, “How much has Ed’s win boosted the pro-AV camp?” Which mistakenly assumes that it has boosted it at all.
As I said at a Progress fringe meeting in Manchester last week, I thought Ed Miliband’s victory under the Alternative Vote system that the Labour Party uses for its internal elections [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Sunday, 3 October 2010 at 9:56 pm

Mark of Cain, Eagle Eye

Mark of Cain

I did not know that the Mark of Cain was put on him by God to protect him from those who might want to do him harm because he had killed his brother. (Cain and Abel, by Titian, right.) So it is an analogy that does not quite work for Ed Miliband, then.
I have written [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Sunday, 3 October 2010 at 5:16 pm

Cameron the History Man, Eagle Eye

Cameron the History Man

Interesting long interview by Simon Schama with David Cameron (right) in the Financial Times (registration) today.
The first thing I ask him is to imagine Florence, 16 years hence, about to do her history GCSE (in the restored version of the curriculum I push him to reinstate), asking her pa what he’d done to deserve the plaudits. An [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Saturday, 2 October 2010 at 6:38 pm

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