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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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Catch-Up Service, Eagle Eye

Catch-Up Service

While I was away. Alastair Campbell’s sister and some unusual red-coloured diamonds. Last week the Daily Mail led its front page every day on the problem of eating the same cow twice. And it is less likely that it will be Charles Kennedy who leads the Continuing Lib Dems out of the coalition.
More catching up [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Wednesday, 11 August 2010 at 9:49 am

There are 10 types of people in the world, Eagle Eye

There are 10 types of people in the world

Those who understand binary numbers and those who don’t.
Yes, I read Alex’s Adventures in Numberland, by Alex Bellos, on holiday. That line isn’t in there, but a lot of other good things are. Bellos has a wonderful quotation on p324 from Steve Jobs, chief executive of Apple, about a change made to the shuffle function [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Wednesday, 11 August 2010 at 8:31 am

How to Be Prime Minister, Eagle Eye

How to Be Prime Minister

That’s the parliamentary season done. Time to tidy up some of the stuff on my desktop. Never found time to comment on Tony Blair’s master class in How to Be Prime Minister at the Institute for Government last month.
A transcript, for which I am grateful to OutSec, is here.
There were a few polished aphorisms, which [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Tuesday, 27 July 2010 at 9:19 pm

Evil and its returns, Eagle Eye

Evil and its returns

Of the many confidences broken by Peter Mandelson in his The Third Man, perhaps the most striking (not that I have finished reading it yet) is this quotation from a note from Cherie Blair after his first resignation, in which “the engine of my destruction was Gordon Brown”, from the Cabinet in December 1998:
I have [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Tuesday, 27 July 2010 at 11:38 am

Now we will take no lessons, Eagle Eye

Now we will take no lessons

Hear ye, hear ye. Two more additions to the Banned List.
35. Headlines beginning “Now”, as in “Now You Pay for Prison Parties.”
36. “We will take no lessons on x from y.” Tedious bit of parliamentary polyfilla. Jeremy Hunt’s first answer at Culture, Media and Sport questions today began, “I can confirm that we have no [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Monday, 26 July 2010 at 10:17 pm

Can Labour afford to back the Ed Milibandwagon?

Notwithstanding the previous post, Max Atkinson, the rhetoric guru, asks number 376 in my series of Questions to Which the Answer is No, in a thoughtful analysis of the Labour leadership contest, in which he rephrases his headline question thus:
Now that Ed Miliband has won the backing of the big unions, whose support Ed Balls [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Monday, 26 July 2010 at 6:50 pm

Ed Miliband’s public email, Eagle Eye

Ed Miliband’s public email

Earlier today I wondered what was in Ed Miliband’s “private email” to members of the Unite political committee, which decided on Saturday that the union should nominate him for the Labour leadership. Well, I have now obtained a copy of the said document.
According to the Mail on Sunday, but since taken down, Ed Balls’s “backers [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Monday, 26 July 2010 at 6:32 pm

Iraq, land of opportunity, Eagle Eye

Iraq, land of opportunity

There is an excellent article in The Times today (pay wall) about the revival of Iraq. “Reconstruction is visible right across the country,” its says.
Today [Baghdad] is a boom town, rather than a bomb site. If I were a young man, looking to make my fortune, I would be off to Iraq like a shot. [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Monday, 26 July 2010 at 5:53 pm

The Labour Party: not dead yet, Eagle Eye

The Labour Party: not dead yet

Best news all day: Rushanara Ali, my excellent MP, has decided to vote for David Miliband for the leadership, although she nominated Diane Abbott and her constituency party, Bethnal Green and Bow, nominated Ed Miliband.
Ten other MPs have also said that they will be giving David M their first preference votes: David Winnick, Jim Dowd, Chris Bryant, Meg Hillier, Denis MacShane, Fiona [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Monday, 26 July 2010 at 5:39 pm

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