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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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Blair’s gone, Lord Owen, it’s safe to come back now, Eagle Eye

Blair’s gone, Lord Owen, it’s safe to come back now

Talking of David Owen, how uplifting it was to see him back in the gateway to the Labour fold. (He’s not actually rejoining the party, he told BBC radio today, because he is too old to submit to the authority of the party whip, but he has donated “more than” £7,500.)
As I say in The [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Sunday, 2 March 2014 at 5:49 pm

The entire Shadow Cabinet should be forced to drink Waitrose’s free coffee, Eagle Eye

The entire Shadow Cabinet should be forced to drink Waitrose’s free coffee

Ed Miliband’s more-Blairite-than-Blair triumph of breaking the power of the trade union bosses in the Labour Party was nearly overshadowed by a silly row about Waitrose’s free coffee.
Andy Sawford, a Labour frontbencher, criticised Waitrose for giving its customers free coffee (scroll down), because it undercuts coffee shops and “is acting in a way that will [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Sunday, 2 March 2014 at 11:57 am

A new way to read, Eagle Eye

A new way to read

This looks extraordinary. A gizmo called Spritz that reinvents reading, its inventors claim. We normally read at about 220 words per minute, but this software can get us up to 500 wpm quite easily (it seems to be true, you can try it yourself at the link), or faster.
Most of the time taken by reading, [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Friday, 28 February 2014 at 9:32 pm

Angela Merkel: What She Said And What She Meant, Eagle Eye

Angela Merkel: What She Said And What She Meant

I have a commentary in The Independent today on the German Chancellor’s address to both Houses of Parliament.
“Some expect my speech to pave the way for a fundamental reform of the European architecture which will satisfy all kinds of alleged or actual British wishes… they are in for a disappointment.”
I didn’t get where I am [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Friday, 28 February 2014 at 4:27 pm

The Pedants’ Revolt, Eagle Eye

The Pedants’ Revolt

Now that Twitter is becoming a picture-led medium, it is images that are retweeted most. The most successful image that I tweeted this week was this brilliant picture, made by Chris Green on Facebook, which reached me via Paul Rodgers and Matt Hoffman.
Inevitably, someone pointed out that the bloke on the horse is John Ball, [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Thursday, 27 February 2014 at 8:59 pm

I didn’t expect the Spanish Inquisition, Eagle Eye

I didn’t expect the Spanish Inquisition

I have a comment at Independent Voices on Ed Miliband’s curious decision to repeat his Observer interview of 10 days ago in the form of six questions to the Prime Minister in the Commons today.
His charge against David Cameron on both occasions is that he “cannot answer the question about whether people need to believe [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Wednesday, 26 February 2014 at 8:56 pm

Electrifying, Eagle Eye

Electrifying

Daniel Finkelstein in The Times (pay wall) does not think much of the idea of a Tory manifesto promise to refuse to continue the coalition:
Yesterday it was being suggested that David Cameron was contemplating fighting the next election on a pledge not to form a coalition whatever the result. The suggestion was further being made that [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Wednesday, 26 February 2014 at 3:14 pm

Banned List Update: demonising multiple phrases, Eagle Eye

Banned List Update: demonising multiple phrases

The League for the Defence of the English Language has been distracted by its attempt to promote the use of “whom” from its core mission of banning things. But the banning orders have been piling up in the in-tray and it is time we pinned some of them to the front door:
1 Demonise, to mean [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Tuesday, 25 February 2014 at 1:49 pm

Projective Non-Identification, Eagle Eye

Projective Non-Identification

After musing on how Julian Assange rewards those who see their cause in him with his hatred, David Aaronovitch turns this fine paragraph in his Notebook in The Times (pay wall) this morning:
In his famous essay on “radical chic” in America, Tom Wolfe depicted, in the encounter over canapés between the Black Panthers and the [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Monday, 24 February 2014 at 8:27 am

Why the TV debates won’t happen, Eagle Eye

Why the TV debates won’t happen

I have predicted in The Independent on Sunday today that the televised leaders’ debates, which took place for the first time in the last general election campaign, will not happen next time.
The Labour Party tried to get the TV debates story going over the quiet news period of Christmas and New Year, as The Guardian reported, but [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Sunday, 23 February 2014 at 2:48 pm

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