You are viewing j_rentoul

John Rentoul

John Rentoul is chief political commentator for The Independent on Sunday, and visiting fellow 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.

"The Independent's must-read man" - Daniel Finkelstein

You can contact John in the comments area or email him at j.rentoul@independent.co.uk

Previous Entry | Next Entry


The Gnu is back!

Posted by John Rentoul
  • Thursday, 18 February 2010 at 01:16 pm
A curious organisation called Charter 2010 has published the results of a curious opinion poll. Charter 2010 was founded recently by Mike Thomas, the former Labour and SDP MP, with the support of, among others, Robert Skidelsky, Meghnad Desai and David Owen, a medical doctor who diagnosed Tony Blair as suffering from "hubris syndrome".

Its aim is to

seek a transformation of any "hung" parliament in 2010 into a stable and more representative government capable of dealing with Britain’s economic plight.

In other words, to plan for a Government of National Unity (gnu, above right) after the coming election.

Thus it has commissioned Populus to ask people questions of the "should politicians work together" variety.

Which of the following do you think would be best outcome for Britain in terms of dealing sensibly with the country's major problems?

A government made up of a single political party but which four in ten of the electorate, or less, had voted for    30%
A government made up of a coalition of parties that between them had been voted for by more than half of the electorate    70%

Note the absence from the question of the implication that, if David Cameron wins a majority but with a Conservative share of the vote (presumably including Northern Ireland) of less than 40 per cent, a Government of National Unity could be formed by Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Nationalists (assuming that they gain 51 per cent of the votes, as current opinion polls suggest).

Many pundits and experts say it is quite possible that the next general election will result in a 'hung Parliament', with no party having an overall majority in the House of Commons. If this were to happen, which of the following would be in Britain's best interests?

The party with most votes working together with other parties in a coalition government to deal with the country's urgent economic problems    75%
Having a second general election in the hope that this would produce a clear majority for one or other party so that they could then form a government to tackle the country's urgent economic problems    25%

There is a more glaring omission here of the most likely scenario in a hung parliament, namely of the largest party (the Conservatives) running a minority government and relying on the tacit consent of a majority in the House of Commons (probably representing a majority of votes cast) to get its legislation through.

There is, of course, the Fotherington-Thomas question itself:

And in the same situation, which of the following would be in Britain's best interests?

For the political parties to work together and try to agree on measures to address the country's economic and financial crisis    89%
For the political parties to continue to oppose one another, with each one arguing for their own approach to addressing the country's economic and financial crisis    11%

Comments

12.4%.
ron_broxted wrote:
Thursday, 18 February 2010 at 02:39 pm (UTC)
Yes John and Tony Blair=666 in numerology. Spooky, huh?
Re: 12.4%. & 666 - Ron - I Must add up better x100
blairsupporter wrote:
Thursday, 18 February 2010 at 05:01 pm (UTC)
Not really into this kind of thing, but intrigued by your number (?) I did a quick search, Ron. At this site -

http://www.psychics.co.uk/numerology/

Put in Blair's birthday which is 6th May, 1953.

Read which number comes up and what it says it means. Intriguing.

As for John, I don't know his birthdate, do you? If not how did you come up with the - (to be expected from you, Big Ron) - 666 combination for them.

My number was 6, as it happens, but Blair's wasn't. All this hocus pocus fills up your time between sounding off about whatever is the next scandal, eh?

The least that stone throwers such as you SHOULD do is provide a link for others to check what you say. I'm waiting ....
Re: 12.4%. & 666 - Ron - I Must add up better x100
ron_broxted wrote:
Thursday, 18 February 2010 at 05:52 pm (UTC)
Blairs real name is Parsons;)
Doctor - heal thyself
blairsupporter wrote:
Thursday, 18 February 2010 at 03:01 pm (UTC)
Lord Desai's heart is in the right place. He it was that said this...

"Gordon Brown was put on earth to remind people how good Tony Blair was"

...quoted by you here, John -

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/john-rentoul/john-rentoul-mr-brown-is-out-of-touch-and-out-of-control-812070.html

As for David Owen, I clearly recall his getting in a paddy because he knew he couldn't win the leadership of the merging Liberal Democrats & SDP. So he threw the dummy out of the pram.

I wrote about his history and his own thoughts on Blair & himself & who 'should' or even 'would' have led the Labour party here:

http://keeptonyblairforpm.wordpress.com/2008/03/16/doctor-heal-thyself-to-owen-on-his-calumny-of-blair/

I will leave the debate on the ifs and buts of any kind of PR system to others. Once a supporter my opinions have moved in recent years.

Blair is 'Parsons'? Just a minute! Deviation. Minus one point to you, Ron
blairsupporter wrote:
Thursday, 18 February 2010 at 06:30 pm (UTC)
In your usual fashion you are muddled by the facts, Ron. Tony Blair's father's birth name was Parsons before he was adopted by a couple called Blair, whereupon he took their surname. I haven't seen Leo Blair Snr's birth certificate (as presumably neither have you) but somewhere there will be a record of a change of name.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Blair_%28senior%29

"Born Charles Leonard Augustus Parsons in 1923, he was the illegitimate[1] son of two middle class travelling entertainers: Charles Parsons (16 July 1887 - 19 January 1970), whose stage name was Jimmy Lynton, and Mary Augusta Ridgway Wilson (née Bridson in 1886, the daughter of Augustus William Bridson (1849-1933) and wife Maria Emily Montford (1864-1944)), whose stage name was Celia Ridgeway. The two met on tour in England. Their hectic lifestyles prompted them to give up baby Leo, who was fostered out to (and later adopted by) a working class couple, a Glasgow shipyard worker named James Blair and his wife Mary, taking their surname. On 2 June 1927 his biological parents married and tried to reclaim him, but Mary Blair refused to return him and later prevented him from contacting his biological parents. (Leo later had a reunion with his half-sister, Pauline Harding, née Tordiffe.)"

Leo Blair's children were all given the surname Blair. Even Tony's middle names do not include the name Parsons.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Blair#Background_and_family_life

Get over it - he's not Satan.

If you want to be taken seriously, Ron, do your homework, FGS.
Re: Blair is 'Parsons'? Just a minute! Deviation. Minus one point to you, Ron
ron_broxted wrote:
Thursday, 18 February 2010 at 11:13 pm (UTC)
I was winding you up...if you're gullible to believe Bliar is anything other than a wretch you ought to have bought that snake oil I was selling.
Advertisement

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Report Comment

To report an offensive comment for review, please send a Personal Message and provide a link to the comment. The moderators will review it and take action if necessary.
Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by chasethestars