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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Daily catch-up: Blair steps back as Middle East envoy; plus Joseph and the technocratic dreamcoat

Also, if Nicola Sturgeon says the SNP would never prop up a Conservative government, what is there for either David Cameron or Ed Miliband to talk to her about?

Daily catch-up: this week’s Budget could be the last chance to decide the election

Plus a reminder of when Tolkien’s Middle-earth was desperately uncool

How to run a country: A 10 point manifesto for leaders who stand – and want to deliver

Sir Michael Barber turned promises into action for Tony Blair. Here are his tips for success

The Green Party has dropped four points in our Favourability Index since January, putting it level with Ukip

Election 2015: Latest poll shows faltering Greens and Ukip are neck and neck in Favourability Index

After Natalie Bennett's 'brain fade' radio interview, the Green Party dropped four points

Ed Miliband has returned to the idea that a government bureaucracy should set gas and electricity prices

Keeping an open mind on Ed Miliband isn't easy

A politician who makes such superficially popular promises will be found out

The Top Ten: Actors who have released albums

This list was Agnes Frimston's idea. She started with 'Cained', which turned out to be an album of 'chill-out' tracks chosen by Michael Caine rather than performed by him. Agnes supplied many of these nominations, saying: 'I could genuinely do this all day.'

Daily catch-up: Michael Gove, a perpetually interesting politician, attacks the ‘undeserving rich’

Plus David Cameron on getting things done, and a reassuring name for a hairdresser

Daily catch-up: ‘Did an ancient nuclear war kill life on Mars?’ and other conspiracy theories

Plus a head-to-head televised debate between David Cameron and Ed Miliband

Prime Minister’s Questions: Miliband’s MPs have to do his job for him

The Labour leader showed a poor sense of proportion by devoting all his questions to the future of a TV show

Daily catch-up: what makes a good teacher? And politicians in the class room

All you need to know about what is going on

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Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own