John Rentoul

John Rentoul is chief political commentator for The Independent on Sunday, and visiting professor at King's College, London, and at Queen Mary University of London. 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.

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The Top Ten: Fictional countries

We did fictional buildings a while ago (Hogwarts, 221B Baker Street). Ben Ross asked about fictional lands such as Lilliput. I chipped in with Costaguana, the setting of Joseph Conrad’s Nostromo. I ruled out facetious entries such as Wales, Africa and “the UK”.

A report in the Financial Times last week suggested that George Osborne has £5bn a year to play with in his Budget in 17 days’ time

Budget 2015: There could not be a better time for the Chancellor to find a spare £5bn down the back of his sofa

George Osborne need not be a genius to pull off Lamont’s 1992 election trick again, 23 years later

Daily catch-up: the battle of the election videos, and a robot sarcasm detector

All you need to know, including about opinion polling news and immigration figures

Daily catch-up: MPs’ outside earnings, and putting the uh? in luvvie

Plus a swimming submersible, an anonymous source and another picture of old London

Daily catch-up: should we believe the opinion polls or the betting markets?

Plus a cartoon, a quotation, a book review and a very long article about commas

Daily catch-up: ‘Ed Miliband goes to Waitrose with his Lidl bag-for-life’, say focus groups

All you need to know, including the history of ‘mistakes were made’, and other ancient mysteries

The Top Ten: Synonyms that sound like opposites

Tom Startup pointed out that flammable and inflammable appear to be opposites but actually mean the same. Someone called Generally Right offered slim chance and fat chance, which is nice. Adam Huntley offered passive and impassive, although they are not quite synonyms.

Not even an MP yet, Boris Johnson has been promoted to the top team: he, Osborne and David Cameron will be the faces of the Conservative election campaign

Why Cameron needs to tame the big beast Boris

If the PM could harness the qualities of London's Mayor he would. But a Tory defeat would actually suit Johnson

Daily catch-up: into the rapids of the Greek crisis; and a history of the English

Plus sound effects and even more recommended reading

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?