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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1 Surprisingly unrelated pairs of words
Male and female. Nothing to do with each other. From unrelated Latin roots masculus and femella, diminutive of femina. Unlike man and woman, which are related: man and wife-man in Old English

Listellany: A miscellany of Very British Top 10s

There’s nothing as important as trivia, argues John Rentoul. To prove his point, he’s compiled a book of it. General knowledge will never be the same

The grandfather of communism, Karl Marx
“Nick Clegg took exception to Theresa May’s conference speech in which she accused the Lib Dems of killing children”

Lib Dem conference: It's dark and lonely work, but I agree with Nick Clegg

On this occasion, the Lib Dems are right and the Home Secretary is wrong

Daily catch-up: the opinion polls, democracy in Hong Kong, and a Tory Bill of Rights

It is our political commentator's job to explain the lines on the graph, not to make them go in the right direction

Daily catch-up: Cameron’s speech, his place in history, and the Pedant Club

Collected commentary on the Big Speech and other matters including the names of London railway stations

David Cameron gives his keynote speech to the Conservative party conference in Birmingham

Conservative Party Conference: Here's what David Cameron said in his speech…and what he meant

I've been reading between the lines of the Tory leader’s address

Daily catch-up: ugly buildings, fighting spirit, and a warning on low pay

News from Birmingham and other parts of the virtual world from our political commentator

Daily catch-up: low pay, E and non-E online, and the pointlessness of chess

Half a dozen inveiglements from around what Gordon Brown calls the websphere

Daily catch-up: composers’ squiggles, the latest polls and ‘quasi-Trot’ Miliband

Making sense of parts of the websphere over the weekend

The latest ComRes opinion poll shows that voters have a low opinion of both potential prime ministers: a mere 25 per cent saying they have a “favourable” view of David Cameron and just 19 per cent saying the same of Ed Miliband

General election 2015: There is no trust in this contest of negatives

As our ComRes poll shows, the voters have a low opinion of both potential prime ministers
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Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'