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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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

Daily catch-up: old London, America not so unequal after all, and the schrödinbug

Plus the SNP heading for disaster, and biblical interest rates

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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