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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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Could this persuade Dave to ditch Nick?, Eagle Eye

Could this persuade Dave to ditch Nick?

The third leader in The Times this morning begins thus:
William Blake’s Jerusalem is a series of great historical questions to each of which the answer is “no”.
Well, I’m not sure about “those feet in ancient time”, because there is a bit of poetic ambiguity about whose feet they are, but the second question is [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Thursday, 15 July 2010 at 3:52 pm

Chatham House Rules in the Twitter Era, Eagle Eye

Chatham House Rules in the Twitter Era

Alastair Campbell repeated in yesterday’s Financial Times his dictum that, at least for most people in the public eye, “life is on the record”, and that it is difficult for the famous Chatham House rule to survive in a world with Twitter and Facebook. The Guardian reports that Keith Burnet, the communications [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Thursday, 15 July 2010 at 12:11 pm

Why a graduate tax is a bad idea, Eagle Eye

Why a graduate tax is a bad idea

David Cameron at Prime Minister’s Questions today said the Labour leadership election “basically involves sucking up to the trade unions”, playing into the prevailing view of it as an exercise in telling the Labour Party what it wants to hear.
This is not true of one candidate. David Miliband has not joined the herd rushing from [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Wednesday, 14 July 2010 at 8:41 pm

Why Alastair Campbell turned down the money, Eagle Eye

Why Alastair Campbell turned down the money

Alastair Campbell has a great line in a waspish article in The Daily Telegraph today on the virtues of keeping a diary rather than writing a memoir based on hazy recollection. Just in case we were unsure to whom he was referring, he corrects a point of detail in Peter Mandelson’s The Third Man, serialised [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Wednesday, 14 July 2010 at 2:22 pm

Barack Obama wins, Eagle Eye

Barack Obama wins

Under Godwin’s Law,* the North Iowa Tea Party has lost the argument:

*Godwin’s Law: “The first person to make a Nazi analogy is out.”
Via The Staggers.

By | Eagle Eye | Tuesday, 13 July 2010 at 11:09 pm

Andrew Lansley’s disaster, Eagle Eye

Andrew Lansley’s disaster

I haven’t opined on Andrew Lansley (right) and his reform plans for the NHS because I haven’t read the white paper or spoken to anyone who understands it. Judging by the coverage, I am not in a minority among the journalistic class.
As a holding position, therefore, two things.
One, the reforms may well be the the [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Tuesday, 13 July 2010 at 3:12 pm

Hold the not front page, Eagle Eye

Hold the not front page

It is not so much that “the Mail has a healthy scepticism of conspiracy theories” as that it is rubbish at them. Take today’s green-ink story about the David Kelly paranoid fantasy. It is based on Sir John Chilcot (who is not pictured, right), chairman of the Iraq Inquiry, saying that Kelly’s death was “not [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Tuesday, 13 July 2010 at 2:58 pm

Get your old news there, Eagle Eye

Get your old news there

Only a week after I reported it here, The Guardian has caught up with the news that Tony Blair has changed the title of his memoir. Yes, it may be old news but the Guardian has added value! An anonymous quotation from a “leading literary agent” saying Blair does look a bit crazed, messianic and [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Tuesday, 13 July 2010 at 9:50 am

Prebuttal service

A new offering from the Iraq Inquiry Coverage Rebuttal Service: the Iraq Inquiry Coverage Prebuttal Service. Up before Chilcot this afternoon is Carne Ross, a former Foreign Office official who didn’t agree with the war. He resigned from the Foreign Office. Eighteen months after the war.
The IICPS confidently predicts that, when he gives his evidence [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Monday, 12 July 2010 at 10:26 am

Got to the bottom of the sugary tea cup, Eagle Eye

Got to the bottom of the sugary tea cup

Got to the bottom of the Great Cheddar Cheese Sandwich and Sugared Tea Mystery. I noted on Saturday that John Spellar had asked a strange parliamentary question:
To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he plans to ban the sale of (a) tea and coffee with sugar and (b) cheddar cheese sandwiches in hospitals.
The answer was [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Monday, 12 July 2010 at 9:49 am

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