John Rentoul

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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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Will necktie fatwas unravel Iran’s leadership?, Eagle Eye

Will necktie fatwas unravel Iran’s leadership?

And now number 366 of my Questions to Which the Answer is No, asked by Sylvie Stein at Foreign Policy.
It seems that there is a theological dispute between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the ayatollahs in Iran over the wearing of ties.
Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, normally close ally of the Iranian president, said: “I say to him [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Saturday, 17 July 2010 at 3:10 pm

Are ageing lefties in denial?, Eagle Eye

Are ageing lefties in denial?

Grateful to Oliver Kamm for drawing my attention to number 365 in my series of Questions to Which the Answer is No, asked by Jon Kelly at the BBC:
A study is being used to support the theory many educated, middle-aged left-wingers are in fact conservatives who can’t admit it. Is this true?
As Oliver says, no. [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Saturday, 17 July 2010 at 2:37 pm

As clear as technical “mud”, Eagle Eye

As clear as technical “mud”

As BP suddenly becomes a British company again – the capping of the oil spill at the Deepwater Horizon rig seems to be working – I apply the full weight of pedantry to the The Independent’s reporting of this and other important matters in this week’s Errors & Omissions column:
A report on the Business pages [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Saturday, 17 July 2010 at 11:00 am

The Mail’s poison, Eagle Eye

The Mail’s poison

Today’s Daily Mail recycles The Guardian’s latest hard-to-follow reports of British “complicity” – a favourite word with Blair haters of right and left. The leftie moral posturing of the Mail on the issue of torture is hard to understand except in the context of Paul Dacre’s hatred of New Labour, which happily coincides with the [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Friday, 16 July 2010 at 5:44 pm

Historical revisionism, Eagle Eye

Historical revisionism

Charles Nevin is one of The Independent’s brightest stars. Indeed, it would not be excessive to describe him as the finest peace-time writer of third leaders. When I was a leader-writer, his short endpieces were the standard to which I aspired. So successful was he that he has now been given his own endpiece slot, [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Thursday, 15 July 2010 at 6:12 pm

The Manchu Court, Eagle Eye

The Manchu Court

Paul Keating, Bob Hawke’s successor as prime minister of Australia, is not happy about Hawke’s wife’s new book. As Danny Finkelstein points out, the Blair-Brown hate fest has nothing on this:
Photograph of Hawke and Keating, 1991: Peter Morris

By | Eagle Eye | Thursday, 15 July 2010 at 5:56 pm

We want to move on about it for ever, Eagle Eye

We want to move on about it for ever

In respect of yesterday’s post at Labour List by Joe Caluori, entitled,
We need to learn the lessons of Iraq before we can move on
another correspondent, James, writes to propose a new series:
Headlines to which the subtext is, No, we want to go on about it for ever.

By | Eagle Eye | Thursday, 15 July 2010 at 4:01 pm

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

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