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

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
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