Tuesday, March 15, 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 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?


Seen Elsewhere

How Avoidable Scandals Destroy Stupid Politicians | Alex Wickham
UKIP Mosque Confusion | The Week
Let’s Ban the Word Internet | Padraig Reidy
Are the Broadcasters Ready For the Election? | Specccie
Moral Bankruptcy of the BBC | David Keighley
UKIP’s ‘Starsky and Hutch’ | Total Politics
Innocent Sun Journo Just Doing Her Job | Sun
Boris Sent Up North | Times
The Only Way to Mend the EU | Leo McKinstry
Northern Labour Tearing Party Apart | David Aaronovitch
Osborne is Son of Brown | Peter Oborne


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Tony Blair threatens Ed:

“If you had a strong political lead that was combining the politics of aspiration with the politics of compassion, I still think that’s where you could get a substantial majority…  If I ever do an interview on [the state of the Labour Party], it will have to be at length…”



Left on Left says:

The lefties are attacking because the panellist is a millionaire and lives in a London home worth upwards of two million. Someone had best tell them he’s called Ed Miliband.


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