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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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Idiot Wind, Eagle Eye

Idiot Wind

I see that Norman Lamont, a once serious politician, has joined the idiot cry of “Blair to The Hague”.
He has written an article for the Daily Mail, most of which rehearses his arguments against the International Criminal Court and how this week’s announcement of a preliminary examination of British abuses in Iraq confirms that he [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Thursday, 15 May 2014 at 7:04 pm

Gap between rich and poor unchanged, Eagle Eye

Gap between rich and poor unchanged

Everyone knows that the gap between rich and poor in Britain is growing ever wider. After all, a French economist said so. Yet new figures published by the independent Office for National Statistics today, from the Wealth and Assets Survey 2010-12, show that there has been no change in the inequality of wealth since 2006.
I reproduce [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Thursday, 15 May 2014 at 11:19 am

How Labour Should Fight UKIP, Eagle Eye

How Labour Should Fight UKIP

Notable outing by the next leader of the Labour Party, Yvette Cooper, shadow home secretary, in today’s Mirror. Recognising that UKIP is a threat to the Labour vote, there are no histrionics about Farage’s army of racists (unlike yesterday’s strange and strident Liberal Democrat attack video), but a serious attempt to engage with the reasons [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Thursday, 15 May 2014 at 10:16 am

The Pedantic Heckler, Eagle Eye

The Pedantic Heckler

An entertaining side show at the start of Prime Minister’s Questions today, when Jonathan Edwards, Plaid Cymru MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr (pictured), asked the first question. He asked if David Cameron were, “like Lord Mandelson, intensely relaxed about the filthy rich” – but as he finished his question, “becoming even richer”, a Labour MP [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Wednesday, 14 May 2014 at 3:04 pm

Rancid Boris, Eagle Eye

Rancid Boris

I did not have time to comment on Boris Johnson’s comments on Iraq on LBC last week (6 May), but my colleague Andy McSmith pointed out the absurdity of Johnson, an MP at the time of the vote on Iraq in 2003, having “voted to send British troops to war on a pretext which he [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Tuesday, 13 May 2014 at 9:53 pm

Gus O’Donnell: Ethics in the Civil Service, Eagle Eye

Gus O’Donnell: Ethics in the Civil Service

The full text of Gus O’Donnell’s Michael Quinlan lecture on “Ethics in the Civil Service” has now been published. Lord O’Donnell (pictured with Peter Hennessy), who was Cabinet Secretary 2005-11, was speaking to the Mile End Group in the Treasury on 30 April.
He discussed nudge theory and the ethical implications of paternalism, including the “very [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Tuesday, 13 May 2014 at 11:58 am

John Smith, 20 years on, Eagle Eye

John Smith, 20 years on

I won’t resume the debate about how Labour would have fared if John Smith, who died 20 years ago today, had lived. John McTernan pays tribute here, and Ian Bell also had a fine eulogy last week.
But McTernan’s article did pose one question that stands for the whole. The question is whether Smith would have [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Monday, 12 May 2014 at 12:17 pm

The Crutch and the Wound, Eagle Eye

The Crutch and the Wound

Ed Miliband has gained one group of voters and David Cameron has lost another: my column for The Independent on Sunday looked at how the two leaders have dealt with their respective defectors, incoming and outgoing. I cited an analysis by David Cowling, the BBC’s polling analyst, which said:
Two groups have shaped voting intention opinion [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Monday, 12 May 2014 at 11:46 am

New Zealand Butter All Over Again, Eagle Eye

New Zealand Butter All Over Again

David Cameron’s plan for European renegotiation and referendum became clearer in an important interview with Andrew Marr this morning (transcript here).
It is not quite New Zealand butter – Harold Wilson’s cosmetic renegotiation in 1975 of slightly better terms for imports from Commonwealth countries – but it is hardly the “fundamental” change Cameron has implied before.
The main elements [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Sunday, 11 May 2014 at 5:56 pm

Top 10 Malapropisms, Eagle Eye

Top 10 Malapropisms

My Top 10 in The Independent on Sunday at the weekend was Malapropisms.
As ever, I had a surplus of nominations, some of which did not make the final selection because they were not authenticated. They are still good, so here they are, with the best of the rest:
“We’ve passed a lot of water under the [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Tuesday, 6 May 2014 at 1:35 pm

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