March 15th, 2011

Is An Irrational World Driving Rentoul Mental?

John Rentoul is the Indy on Sunday’s political commentator, this leaves him with too much time on his hands.

The devil makes work for idle hands and Rentoul has become one of the commentariat’s most prolific tweeters.

His amusing series “Questions to which the answer is no” debunks Daily Mail headlines of the “Do Fluffy Easter Bunnies Cause Cancer?” kind. The Herculean constant tweeting in an irrational world (at pixel time he has Twittered 43 tweets in the last 24 hours) has seen him cite over 500 cases of “Questions to which the answer is no”. He has thus set himself up as Twitter’s arbiter of rationalism as well as spending a lot of fruitless time defending Tony Blair from his detractors. A task which is the media equivalent of painting the Forth Bridge.

Rentoul has now moved on from debunking conspiracy theories and loony headlines to critiquing reasonable speculation. Mike Smithson’s seems to be a constant target. It is reasonable for a writer covering betting on politics to run speculative headlines when discussing high risk betting opportunities, sceptics of Black-Scholes theory believing the improbable is under-priced in risk terms. Mike Smithson asks gambling questions likeIs Jim Murphy for leader worth a punt at 33-1?“, “Should Labour expel Hutton for his public sector pensions study? Questions which attract the Twittering ire of Rentoul, as do tweets which within 140 characters fail to cite sources or provide footnotes, Rentoul’s ire is bordering on an obsessive compulsive disorder. Is this a rational use of his time?


  1. 1
    Joss Ayinglike says:

    The word ‘tool’ in Rentoul says it all.

  2. 2
    John Ward says:





    • 6

      You mean the EX-advisor who has left our employ and is nothing to do with us anymore?

      Remind us what Balls says about McBride these days? Just use the same response re Coulson, please.

    • 12
      so what? says:

      Nobody is interested anymore now that coulson has left downing street. Proof if ever you needed it that the hoo ah was politically driven.

      • 13
        Lard Presclott of Bulimia, Bog Seats, Beams,Bellies,Banjos,Punches, Croquet, Pies, Jags 'n' Shags says:

        But, but, they didn’t they hack into my very important phone calls ???

        Don’t you realise how important I am ???

        • 21
          Fa Kin Su Pah says:

          Labour party subscription— reminders.
          Lazard Asset Management—appointments.

      • 15

        All Labour have done is ensure a proper investigation. Which will mean publication of the individuals involved and their sordid communications (yes, that means you, Prescott). Coulson is gone so very little damage by association can be done to Cameron.

      • 18
        Old dog no tricks says:

        Speak for yourself ! This goes up into the realms of Met police corruption and even poses the question as to the corruption of Government in favour of the Murdoch empire !

        I for one want to know just how far the Murdoch (and probably other) media empires have been garnishing their bank accounts through favours to the politicians !

        After all – one trough has been shallowed out – they will have wanted to make sure there was another one to stick their noses in !

    • 81
      My name is Legion - Legion Ayers says:

      Trolls always come second. A sloppy second.

  3. 3
    eric spock. says:

    I conclude it is time to get pssd as a newt.

  4. 7
    Fa Kin Su Pah says:

    Never trust a man with a scrawny neck

  5. 8
    boulay says:

    “will hutton cut his pay?”

  6. 9
    Tachybaptus says:

    It’s the last flareup before burnout, and then we’ll be quit of him.

  7. 10
    Afghanistan Banana Stand says:

    This Rentoul defends Blair?

    The man is clearly ill.

  8. 11
    Billy Bowden is the greatest umpire ever ! says:

    My OCD is pressing the F5 key all fucking day.

  9. 17
    Billy Bowden is the greatest umpire ever ! says:

    Must be mental, Has has he shook Gordons hand lately?

  10. 19
    Loungelizard says:

    Een my country we tro dis hombre to de crocodrillos


  11. 20
    Humphrey says:

    with the unfolding disaster in Japan, the Nuclear Power debate becomes more important, is it time scientists should be charged with some type criminal offence if they are found to be lying in order for financial or professional gain.

    climate change research is now a multi billion pound industry, financial or engineering analysts would not be allowed to get away with much of the horse shit the climate change lobby does

    • 35
      Anonymous says:

      What effect would a scale 8.9 earthquake have on wind turbines?

      Would wave technology cope with a 30 foot tsunami?

      I really don’t understand what the events in Japan add to the nuclear debate.

      • 46
        A wino who screams at pigeons says:

        Just wait till Godzilla shows up.

        • 57
          The Day after Tomorrow's Yesterday To-day says:

          Or the Giant Asteroid….better send for Bruce Willis

          • TV Weather Girl Wincy Willis says:

            Sorry- it’s Bruce’s day off and I’ve been hired as his replacement.

            Once you’ve worked at TV-AM saving the World from asteroids is a doddle!

        • 75
          A Giant Mutunt Pigeon says:

          Don’t mess with me!!

          Your days are numbered- you irritating, drunken, vomit-sodden tossflap!


          COOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! (MEGA-FLUTTER)

          • A Giant Mutant Pigeon says:

            I may be able to speak but I am still unable to spell mutAnt correctly.


    • 52
      Another Engineer says:

      A hydro plant dam failed, washing away several villages. Perhaps we should stop using hydro power too?

      • 58
        jgm2 says:

        As far as I can see the enviro-loons are opposed to everything on either ecological, safety, loss of amenity or eye-sore grounds.

        The obvious solution is to burn the eco-loons.

        • 84
          Maximus says:

          I see what you’re doing there.

          Time stopped for the loons around 1610, when Galileo went heliocentric. Since then, progress has been tantamount to assault, battery and rape of Gaia. Unlike now, burning at the stake was still an option then on the table for the authorities. As was trial by ordeal, the revival of which I have long advocated for the likes of Five Bellies.

      • 60
        Anonymous says:

        And that’s it end of disaster. Unlike the decades it will take to clean up the nuclear stuff.

    • 59
      On the beach says:

      Every day experts keep coming on sky especially some bloke from Chatham house and every day they say nowt to worry about and all is under control even though every day the situation has got significantly worse.

      look here mr “experts”. Three nuclear power stations loosing all cooling, their secondary containment exploding and a fourth with a fire in its spent fuel rod pond is something to worry about A F ing lot. There will not be a nuclear explosion as a critical mass will not be possible but the possibility of radionuclides being ejected into the atmosphere or finding their way into groundwater are very real and something to be very worried about.

      • 63
        Anonymous says:

        Compare this to, for example, the Banqiao dam failure in China in 1975. Overtopped by a 1 in 2000 year rainfall event. 26,000 people were killed in the initial dam failure (versus the 28 who died as a result of the initial blast at Chernobyl through radiation exposure), and an additional 145,000 people died during the epidemics and famine that followed the dam failure.

        I suppose we could go back to burning sticks and pulling carts with oxen?

      • 85
        Another Engineer says:

        Deaths per Terawatt Hour:

        Coal 161
        Oil 36
        Natural gas 4
        Biofuel/biomass 12
        Wind 0.15
        Hydro 1.4
        Nuclear 0.04
        Rooftop solar 0.44

  12. 21
    Stella the racist says:
    • 24
      Billy Bowden is the greatest umpire ever ! says:

      she should try going to parts of London, You can go a whole day without seeing another white person.

      • 33
        jgm2 says:

        With the rate at which Labour constituencies are denuding themselves of people as they all flee to nicer areas it can surely only be a matter of time before you can go to a Labour constituency and find nobody at all except for non-existent postal voters.

      • 37
        I Remember You Hoo says:

        Celebrate cultural suicide or cultural diversity as it is otherwise known Billy, you have no say or choice in the matter.

        • 48
          Mad Hattie Harman's curiously cavernous front bottom says:

          Celebrate the rich multicultural diversity experience (western culture excluded) or your career-path as Public Sector non-job Drone #355544 will be terminated.

    • 31
      Tax Payer says:

      Pompously inform them you’re an M.P. and expect to be given priority?

    • 88
      Student Grant says:

      Flocks of exchange students? Daz waycist innit

  13. 23
    Righty Right Wing (Mrs) says:

    What is irrational is the metropolitan Conservative & Lierbal elites failing to understand the damage that is being done to their voter base because of their refusal to cut the tax on fuel immediately.

    Like Labour, rusty Dave & calamity Clegg are fully paid up members of the eco mentalist agenda.

    There is only one party to blame for high fuel taxes – the party in power that can do something about it.

    Blue Labour out.

    • 43
      I Remember You Hoo says:

      When the head of the National Grid says that ‘people are going to have to get used to not having electricity’ you know that the eco-loons have taken over the asylum. Drippy Dave, Clegg, Huhne and Co, are abject weaklings, unable or unwilling to say no and stop the madness of ever higher fuel and energy prices.
      It will all end, in very bitter tears.

    • 68
      500 Days to go and the BBC is already pissing me off about ticket sales says:

      Look haven’t you realised that it’s all part of the planning for the 2012 Olympics…..make it so bloody expensive for indigenous population of British Isles to run a car and it clears the roads for those important Members of the Olympic Committee to be chauffered around in their limos without the “plebs” getting in the way or snarling up the traffic………..

    • 69
      Cynical-old-bag says:

      I disagree.

      Every party in power since the seventies has to shoulder blame for this.

      It would be very easy for the government to cut tax on fuel, but it is still a revenue-raiser, and this government needs money to pay for the very expensive mistakes of the last one. We can’t cut what we don’t have. Petrol prices are increassing all over the world. We need to find another way to run cars and then it wouldn’t matter whether fuel is highly priced or not.

    • 89
      Student Grant says:



  14. 27
    Questions to which the answer is 'no' says:

    The Independent. It is. Are you? Is John Rentoul?

  15. 28
    Doc Trough says:

    I always thought he had missed his vocation and, would make an excellent undertaker.

  16. 32
    Billy Bowden is the greatest umpire ever ! says:

    Looks like the Irish might cause another upset!!!!

  17. 36
    Cynical-old-bag says:

    His neck doesn’t fit his collar. It’s far too big.

    • 38
      jgm2 says:

      Maybe him and Ned Miliband put on the wrong shirts one morning. Because Ned looks like his shirt is trying to throttle him.

      Or it might just be a new type of artificially intelligent shirt taking direct action against the rubber-faced jackass.

  18. 39
    The Boss says:

    Definitely something of the dead about Rentokil.

  19. 40
    Where's Warsi says:

    Odds eh

    No Fly zone = 1000000000000/1

  20. 42

    Rentoul’s ire is bordering on an obsessive compulsive disorder.

    TaT? Is that you?

  21. 47
    noted says:

    I know he’s a Liebore supporter but he doesn’t strike me as the biggest loon in the (very) mad house.

  22. 50
    bergen says:

    It’s the only way he’ll find a readership as the Sindy is really dire these days.Since Alan Watkins died last year there has been no reason to buy it at all.

    I see piles of them as complimentaries in hotels and I wonder how many copies are actually sold.

    • 54
      jgm2 says:

      It’s been going downhill since ‘Alex’ jumped ship.

      • 65
        It's not been the same since Brian Harris left says:

        Even the 20p ‘i’ version isn’t worth buying.

      • 74

        Start some rumours for the Twitter set.

        Rentoul is David Bowie’s cousin.
        Osborne has a major stake in Camelot
        Paul Dacre is becoming a spin doctor for Nick Clegg

    • 91
      Reimer says:

      Chuckle, it’s the only free paper they have in the Grand Hotel, Llandudno, frequented by absolutely none of the types they appear to be trying to reach.

  23. 62
    Billy Bowden is the greatest umpire ever ! says:

    This is the same Independent that has the awful woman ali bi clown writing in it about how much she hates this country?

    • 66
      Tessa Tickles says:

      That’s the one.

      Mind you, the Mailygraph has the dismal waste of life that is Mary Riddell.

    • 73
      Cynical-old-bag says:

      Well, she can always leave if she hates it that much.

      Or perhaps she knows where she’s well-off?!

  24. 72
    Cynical-old-bag says:

    Moderator – what is wrong with my post in reply to comment No. 22 (11.53am)?

  25. 77

    I’ll piledrive Rentoul the Hunt if I ever see him in real life
    like that little bullied kid Casey did to the skinny Hunt who thought it would be funny to bully people.

  26. 78
  27. 79
    Anonymous says:

    Rentoul can spell, something which Guido isn’t great at: “Dave upsets the madarins – FT”. By the way, if you capitalise “Twitter” why not “tweet”.

  28. 90
    Keith Pool says:

    “Is this a rational use of his time?”


  29. 93
    Doc Trough says:

    John Rentoul by Mervyn Peake.

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Guido-hot-button (1) Guido-hot-button (1)

A confused Nick Griffin says Nigel Farage is a shill for the City, forgetting that City banks want to stay in the EU:

“Farage is a snake oil salesman, but a very good one. His supposed anti-immigration stance is all smoke and mirrors, as is his carefully cultivated image as a ‘man of the people’. The truth is that UKIP is a pro-immigration party that exists to lobby for the interests of the City of London.”

Alexrod says:

It’s money innit.

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