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 PoliticalBetting.com 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?

Quote of the Day

Ed Miliband says…

“The problem is Nick Clegg is the last thing we need to win this referendum.”

Will Hutton Cut His Pay?

Left-wing bore and government advisor Will Hutton has reported back after being despatched to look into pay. His idea that public sector fat cats could have up to 20% of their pay docked for poor performance are welcome.  Though given the vast sums of money we are talking about, say £180,000, Guido was wondering what the criteria would be for the penalty to kick in..

Would failure to register your accounts qualify for a pay docking? Or how about having to surrender control of your insolvent organisation to a second-rate university in order to keep it alive? Better get your cheque book out Will…

Red Ed Should Learn To Never Say Never

Ed Miliband asked the audience to be the judge on how he is doing so far when he appeared on Boulton & Co this lunchtime. With classic sound-bites such as “I can’t make a promise no, because I’m not going to make … I’m not going to make a promise I can’t keep… I’m not, I’m not going to make promises now four and a half years beyond election…” it wasn’t a great pitch. Prezza-lite articulation aside, it seems Ed has dug himself into a hole.

Boulton pushed him on whether Labour would use their proposed extended bank levy to reverse Child Benefit:

“Yeah sure.  I, I mean I, we’ve, we’ve never said, look we’ve never said that we would use the bankers’ levy for that”

Oh really Ed… Are you sure?

Let’s rewind five months to The Politics Show on the 10th October last year:

“If we can get more for example from the banks in a higher bank levy, to protect ordinary families, like on Child Benefit… we should do so.”

The video evidence is here. Saying “we’ve never said” over and over again won’t make it true Ed.

The Tory Party at Prayer

The congregation of St Peters Church in Hammersmith are getting used to a new star amongst the flock. A slightly more-on-the-ball parishioner noticed some subtler changes too. Naturally the people of Japan were at the forefront of the vicar’s request for prayers, but there was some confusion to why the local Tory council was in his thoughts this week. The government too…

The vicar also discussed the importance of solving unemployment and even invited his flock to a big society-esque meeting about  finding  jobs this Wednesday at a local pub. Regulars definitely noticed a change in tone that can only be explained by the leather jacket-clad “trendy dad” Craig Oliver, who was seen chatting away with the vicar for so long at the end that he caused a queue to get out. Guido can only assume Oliver was thanking the vicar for the government’s new found backing from God.

Next week the St Peters will be treated to a correspondent from the BBC World Service speaking about how his faith inspires his work. Who could have organised that…

Where’s Gordon™? – Being Leant On

You can imagine the fingers of blame pointing already…

Balls Nearly Apologises for Being Chancellor

Guido would like to savour this moment as he reckons it’s the closest we are going to get to an apology. Balls finally coughed it:

Blinky Balls“Did we spend every pound wisely? Of course we didn’t”

As Paul Waugh noted, Balls was in quite a candid mood. He responded to a point with “You learn about being Chancellor…” De facto perhaps, but was there something Guido missed?

Hague Tacos the Big Issues

Despite a weekend of declaring he’s not going anywhere, critics are still circling around Hague again this morning. Imagine the hail of twitter-righteousness if Steve Bell had drawn this cartoon for the Mail or this blog. Why the double standards for Guardian scribbles?

High up the list of things that Hague might find it a bit tricky to live down was his rash declaration that Gadaffi was on his way to Venezuela soon after the uprising began in Libya.  Guido’s man in Vauxhall Cross explains the confusion. MI6 had briefed him that they had intercepted a mobile phone conversation that had one of Gaddafi’s close staff speaking Spanish and using “code words”. The spooks deduced that he was almost certainly preparing Gaddafi’s flight to see his old chum Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. Obviously.

Turns out the man was actually ordering a take-away meal of burritos and tacos from the Café Caracas in Tripoli. Apparently.

LibDem Kitty Killer More Than a Mere Candidate

The LibDems were strangely silent about their former PPC Mike Dixon being sent down for barbaric and savage attack on his family pet. Could it be that they were somewhat embarassed that Dixon played a key role in overseeing candidates […]

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Troughing Tory Peer Plea Due

The second Tory peer charged with fiddling his expenses is due to enter his plea this morning at the Old Bailey. Paul White, the one time leader of Essex County Council said the claims for overnight stays in London, despite […]

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Rich and Mark’s Monday Morning View

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David Isn’t Ed’s Best Man

Guido has heard idle speculation that the marriage of Ed and Justine could happen as early as this July, a neat segue from the Royal Wedding into Labour Party conference. As regular readers will know, Guido has been campaigning to […]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Liam Fox shreds Cameron’s Calais scaremongering:

“Sad and disappointed to see our Prime Minister stoop to this level of scaremongering, especially as he knows the Calais agreement is nothing to do with the EU and agreed between the two govts”

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