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Columnists
Issue 1372
agri brigade
With Bio-Waste Spreader: "As combine harvesters roll across Britain, reports suggest the best grain yields for several years. But a better 2014 harvest cannot disguise the worrying 30-year trend affecting UK arable farming: flat production… Unless some hitherto unimagined agricultural technology soon becomes available, previous assumptions that human ingenuity will produce ever more food from a finite area of land might have to be revised…”
medicine balls
With M.D.: "Is giving patients with chronic diseases their own health budget to buy the care they need a good idea? It’s certainly got Simon Stevens, NHS England’s new chief executive, excited. Personal budgets for social care have been around for some years, and Stevens believes ‘north of 5m patients’ will have a combined personal health and social care budget by 2018. £5bn will be taken out of the NHS pot and handed directly to patients. What could possibly go wrong?…”
signal failures
With Dr B Ching: "Great Britain’s franchised system is Europe’s fastest-growing railway, the rail industry implies in its successful political campaign to preserve franchising. But that can’t be right: it’s not even the UK’s fastest-growing railway… The industry’s consultants reached their conclusion by loading the analytical dice in favour of franchising. They ignored eye-watering increases in unregulated ‘Anytime’ fares, and could only suggest the ‘change in the industry model’ in the 1990s (abolishing British Rail) ‘may have’ led to 0.5 to 1.5 percent more passengers a year. A simple test for that guesswork would have been to look at Northern Ireland Railways (NIR), which isn’t franchised or privatised…”
eye tv
With Remote Controller: "There has always been a political undercurrent to the BBC’s coverage of the Commonwealth Games. The corporation’s royal liaison officer gets sweaty and breathless because the event (or at least the idea behind it) is such a big deal for the Queen. So, at Glasgow 2014, the sports reporting was, as usual, part of a broader attempt to promote and celebrate a threatened international union – but, unusually, it was also this time about protecting two contentious political alliances…
[Review of Commonwealth Games 2014 (BBC].”
keeping the lights on
With Old McSparky: " In June Old McSparky told how the Scottish National Party was panicking that, despite its rhetoric about energy ‘self-sufficiency’, keeping the lights on in Scotland would still need English subsidies and, when the wind isn’t blowing, actual electricity from England. This analysis – disputed by several Scottish correspondents – has now been confirmed by an ‘expert commission’ set up by the Scottish government, which keenly hopes to keep not only the Queen and the pound after hoped-for independence, but also the UK integrated energy system and handouts…”
nooks and corners
With Piloti: "Brighton, aka London-on-Sea, is full of wonderful things, not least the exotic Royal Pavilion. But it has long had a local authority that has failed to protect what makes the place special. Many interesting buildings have been allowed to go; and perhaps the rot started when the Regent Cinema, a remarkable building with wonderful interiors, came down in 1974. It had been closed by the Rank Organisation, which had decided to concentrate on the old Brighton Hippodrome… Now the Hippodrome itself, a theatrical building of extraordinary interest with a huge circular interior, is under threat…”
books and bookmen
With Bookworm: "There were two American women judges on the panel that chose the recently announced Man Booker prize longlist, and as it happens the selection (the first under the new rules) included two American women too, Karen Joy Fowler and Siri Hustvedt. Since only one other woman, Ali Smith, made the longlist, the somewhat embarrassing overall score was three out of 13 – a big drop from 2013’s seven out of 13. What makes this especially piquant is that the two judges in question are ex-Times literary editor Erica Wagner and Sarah Churchwell, the UEA academic best-known for her appearances as an articulate feminist critic on Newsnight Review and The Review Show. It’s unlikely either has previously been accused of sexism, but that was the charge when the inevitable blogs and posts from women followed, condemning the longlist’s apparent sexist bias…”
in the city
With Slicker: "After three years, peace broke out in the last two weeks as first Vincent [Tchenguiz] (£3m in damages plus a £3m first instalment towards his costs) and then Robert (£1.5m in damages) settled their damages claims. These arose from the SFO’s botched and abandoned investigation into their dealings with Iceland’s collapsed Kaupthing bank. The settlement was only a tiny fraction of the brothers’ £300m joint claim. So a win for the SFO? Only if you ignore the even greater legal bills for all three sides which the SFO must largely meet…”
Letter from Bucharest
From Our Own Correspondent: "
Britain may well be a marvellous place, but it was no surprise to us Romanians that the fabled invasion of your shores never took place at the start of the year. Romania is, after all, Europe’s fastest growing economy. And there is something irresistible about the battle taking place for our nation’s soul, pitting anti-corruption prosecutors against vested interests…”
To read all these columnists and more in full, you can buy the latest edition of Private Eye - or subscribe here and have the magazine delivered to your home every fortnight.

Next issue on sale:
19th August 2014.
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Private Eye Issue 1372
private eye Only In The Magazine

WoEbola Virus Spreads to Front Pages Shock… Your Stars with the Amazing David Tredinnick MP… Fifty Shades of May – a Sneak Preview… Commonwealth Games, Day 94… The Book of Benjamin, Chapter 95… Me and My Spoon with Dr Jonathan Miller… Banker ‘Doesn’t Break Law’ Shock… World War III Memorial Issue… Ed Miliband Beside the Seaside, as told to Craig Brown

And also...

- Tennis balls: Game, set & match as the Eye uncovers another plagiarist at the Times
- Knacker’s yard: Cleveland police is a small force… but it has big, big problems
- Al-Qaeda Alert: The blabbermouth peer who blew the gaff on Channel Tunnel security
For all these stories you can buy the magazine or subscribe here and get delivery direct to your home every fortnight.
Next issue on sale: 19th August 2014.

Private Eye Issue 1371
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