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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Sidesplitting, Eagle Eye


Say what you like about the Daily Mail, but when it does its humorous, sideways look at something, such as a tribute to Rik Mayall, the tears run down one’s face:
The idea of an MP-cum-weapons-dealer was funny in 1987, but it wouldn’t really become believable for another 15 years, until the Blair era.
Christopher Stevens, we [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Tuesday, 10 June 2014 at 6:07 pm

Top 10 Best Rhymes in Songs, Eagle Eye

Top 10 Best Rhymes in Songs

The Top 10 in The Independent on Sunday magazine yesterday was Best Rhymes in Songs, a sequel to Top 10 Worst Rhymes last year.
As ever, there is a bit of over-matter to be added to the record here:
“Two old ladies sittin’ in the sand, each one wishin’ the other was a man.” Lonnie Donegan. Nominated [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Tuesday, 10 June 2014 at 11:00 am

Blair is un-Blairite on free movement of EU workers, Eagle Eye

Blair is un-Blairite on free movement of EU workers

I agree with Ed Miliband and disagree with Tony Blair about Europe in my column for The Independent on Sunday today.
Here is a graph that shows the relative success of Miliband and Yvette Cooper’s approach to the question of immigration. YouGov regularly asks: “Which political party [do] you think would handle [asylum and immigration] best?” [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Sunday, 8 June 2014 at 2:42 pm

Will Artificial Intelligence put my job at risk?, Eagle Eye

Will Artificial Intelligence put my job at risk?

It’s a QTWTAIN, a Question To Which The Answer Is No, asked by Jamie Bartlett at the Spectator. But I was struck by this sentence:
According to Google’s Ray Kurzweil, in 2045 we will reach what’s known as ‘Singularity’: the point at which artificial intelligence becomes so advanced that it begins to produce new and ever [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Friday, 6 June 2014 at 2:00 pm

Pluralism, Eagle Eye


My Top 10 in the New Review, the Independent on Sunday magazine, today is Plurals That Have Become Singular. It is a guest performance by Rich Greenhill, a virtuoso of language curios, who supplied all 10, including his (and my) favourites, “dismal” and “Sweden”.
Greenhill had suggested even more, including the delightful fact that MMR, measles, [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Sunday, 1 June 2014 at 8:36 pm

Chilcot always said he would publish edited documents, Eagle Eye

Chilcot always said he would publish edited documents

I have not yet seen the derangement that will afflict the press tomorrow, but have now found the source for my third point about the Chilcot inquiry. Far from today’s announcement being a change imposed on the Committee, Sir John made it clear that he would be publishing “gists” in his update of July 2012:
The [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Thursday, 29 May 2014 at 10:36 pm

George Bush’s “Gists and Quotes”, Eagle Eye

George Bush’s “Gists and Quotes”

I have resisted so far getting the Rebuttal Service logo out of storage, but now that Sir John Chilcot, the Inquiry chairman, has finally said something, I, like he, can delay no longer. Sir John has just published a letter of agreement between him and Sir Jeremy Heywood, the Cabinet Secretary, about the “principles that [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Thursday, 29 May 2014 at 3:18 pm

Cable from China, Eagle Eye

Cable from China

I have a comment on Independent Voices about the attempted coup against Nick Clegg.
Vince Cable has just been on television from China, with a motorway in the background, talking about his Reginald fitzUrse, Matthew Oakeshott. Here is a full transcript:
I was aware that he was conducting other polls around the country and I was certainly [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Wednesday, 28 May 2014 at 8:03 pm

Chuka Umunna vs Yvette Cooper for Labour leadership, Eagle Eye

Chuka Umunna vs Yvette Cooper for Labour leadership

Survation carried out an unusual poll for the Mail on Sunday, asking people to watch a one-minute video of five possible Labour leaders and then to answer questions about them. The figures given in the newspaper are for respondents who voted Labour in 2010;* I would have thought we were more interested in the views [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Tuesday, 27 May 2014 at 10:32 am

Farage, one-band man, Eagle Eye

Farage, one-band man

Nigel Farage has been vindicated. He was the first important person in UKIP to realise the significance of proportional representation when it was introduced for the 1999 European Parliament election, according to Robert Ford and Matthew Goodwin in Revolt on the Right.
Farage became chairman of the party in his mid-30s after Alan Sked, the founding [...]

By | Eagle Eye | Monday, 26 May 2014 at 8:44 pm

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