John Rentoul - The Independent

John Rentoul

John Rentoul is chief political commentator for The Independent on Sunday, and visiting professor at Queen Mary, University of London, where he teaches contemporary history. 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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Students demonstrating about the rising costs of education fees in 2000

On tuition fees, we ain't seen nothing yet

In a vindication for those behind the last two rises, more people from poor families are going to university

August catch-up: great buildings, momentous events and silly jokes

Still trying to bring you some of the things you may have missed in the holiday hiatus

Seat of power: Angela Merkel prefers to use a small writing desk rather than Gerhard Schröder's behemoth

Angela Merkel dislikes Gerhard Schröder's big black desk - so what does their choice of workspace says about other leaders?

Merkel revealed she doesn't like the four-metre black desk she inherited from her predecessor, preferring to work at the small writing-table in front of it

August catch-up: London’s languages, a bet on Boris and the ultimate Venn diagram

A not-necessarily daily pot pourri of interesting stuff from around the world-wide web

August catch-up: Tess von d’Urbervilles, elasticity and the meaning of ‘irony’

An occasional round-up of things that caught our political columnist’s eye over the holidays

Boris Johnson has intensified pressure on David Cameron over Europe as he prepared to launch his bid to return to Westminster at next year’s general election

Boris standing as an MP is the silliest story of the silly season

Although that's not to say that it won't help Cameron's chances in the next election...

The Top Ten: Horrible buildings

These are mostly British, and indeed many of them are in London, because I stick with what I know and I've a few long-standing grudges to settle. Some of these were nominated for last week's Top 10 Great Buildings, but this is where they really belong.

The Pantheon, Rome

Best buildings in the world from The Pantheon to Cambridge University Library

This list was inspired by Tom Wilkinson's 'Bricks & Mortals: Ten Great Buildings and the People They Made', published by Bloomsbury last month. A lovely book that starts with the Tower of Babel and ends with Oscar Niemeyer's 2010 footbridge to Rocinha, Rio de Janeiro's biggest favela, which I think is hideous.

Banned List update: more imnecessary words and phrases. If you wouldn’t mind

The author of ‘The Banned List’ issues an emergency supplementary list of prohibitions

Does Clegg face problems from his own party?

Nick Clegg's paradox: the policies are fine, he's not

Demiation is a word I've invented. It means to be cut by half, the likely fate of Lib Dem MPs
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A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
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His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
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How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week