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Columnists
Issue 1399
agri brigade
With Bio-Waste Spreader: "UK roads have been blocked by tractors, cows and pigs have been let loose in supermarket aisles, and there has even been a ‘lamb production strike’ in Wales. Similar tactics have just paid dividends in France, where the government has promised €600m in emergency help for its farmers. But is any such help likely in the UK? The problem is that the NFU, the main body representing UK farmers, famously relies on lobbying not through militant action but via quiet whispers in the ears of ministers in Westminster…”
medicine balls
With M.D.: "… poor care of the elderly gets most media attention because elderly patients are the main users of the NHS and social care. However, the greatest long-term health benefits come from investing in the social care of the youngest. £377bn a year in the UK goes on social spending, including benefits and pensions, but only £12bn on childhood interventions… Investing in better health, education and social care for mothers of unborn babies and children up to the age of five has huge long-term benefits in reducing physical and mental illness, family breakdown, drug use and obesity. And yet this area is facing the biggest cuts…”
signal failures
With Dr B Ching: "The more rail regulators huff and puff about Network Rail’s failings, the more they only confirm their own impotence. Last week the Office of Rail and Road announced a proposed £2m fine for train delays and cancellations caused by Network Rail in 2014-15… Regulators weren’t needed before British Rail was broken up and sold. Then regulation was introduced to prevent privately-owned Railtrack unfairly exploiting its monopoly. Railtrack was replaced by NR, which is a central-government body – so ‘enforcement’ by regulators simply means taxpayers fining themselves…”
eye tv
With Remote Controller: "The department in Salford that produces Songs of Praise and the other BBC God progs is now known as ‘Religion and Ethics’. The team spent last week tussling with the two words as the tabloid press questioned the morality of broadcasting from a pop-up church at the migrant camp in Calais. Controversial as soon as it was announced, the idea became even more so when enthusiastically backed by Canon Giles Fraser in the Guardian… [but] from cheekily exceeding the programme’s editorial brief, what was happening across the Channel was right within its new remit…
[review of Songs of Praise, BBC1]”
keeping the lights on
With Old Sparky: "… the BBC was last week allowed to ‘uncover the secret story of Sellafield’, with physicist Professor Jim Al-Khalili gushing at his ‘exclusive, unprecedented access’ to the giant Cumbrian nuclear waste facility, complete with high-tech robotic storage processes. He faithfully parroted government policy: ‘Nuclear power, alongside renewables, is crucial for our future energy needs – the cusp of a new nuclear age!’ What the professor didn’t see, just two miles up the coast, was the very low-tech 165-year-old single-track Barrow-Carlisle railway at Braystones that is the industry’s Achilles heel…”
nooks and corners
With Piloti: "The ancient port of Kingston-upon-Hull, so often by-passed or ignored, has had an unhappy history over the last century. During the Second World War it was one of the three most bomb-damaged places in Britain; and, after the war, in the usual way, much more was destroyed through utopian planning, official stupidity and neglect. Georgian terraces and Greek Revival chapels were swept away, along with much else… Only in recent decades has Hull begun to appreciate what is left of its architectural heritage. In 2017 it is to be UK City of Culture and, to celebrate this accolade, its finest building is to be… stripped out…”
music and musicians
With Lunchtime O’Boulez: "Financially it’s been a good year for the Edinburgh Festival, with ticket sales approaching record levels. But buyers have had to check what they get for their money, because a worrying number of major artists have pulled out at short notice. The scheduled Marriage of Figaro has lost both its Susanna (Ekaterina Siurina) and its Dr Bartolo (Robert Lloyd)… Still more interesting are the rumours surrounding the late withdrawal of conductor William Christie from one of the festival’s main concerts, featuring works by Rameau and Charpentier…”
books and bookmen
With Bookworm: "Amazon’s shift to paying its self-published authors per page read, rather than per book ‘borrowed’ from its Kindle Unlimited system, will leave some writers severely out of pocket… The move should tackle scam publications, or scamphlets… However, pages read is a poor measure for many forms of non-fiction, such as guide books, recipe books and crafting manuals or patterns, where a single page is the result of much work and is highly valuable to readers. A 13-page knitting pattern currently published on KU will earn its designer less than 5p per reader at the current estimated per page rate…”
in the city
With Slicker: "The Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Cock-Up Authority have come to the startling conclusion, after an 18-month investigation, that the Co-operative Bank was very poorly run with little idea about risk. Which was why it nearly collapsed into a £1.5bn black hole in 2013. The regulators have also been shocked to discover that the bank misled them and investors about its financial position as well as management changes… But now comes the hard part. Who to name and shame for this fiasco?…”
Letter from Asmera
From Our Own Correspondent: "
Eritrea is a tiny country in the Horn of Africa, on the Red Sea coast opposite the Saudi peninsula. For a while we were Africa’s newest country, liberated in 1993 from Ethiopian bondage; but we lost that crown after South Sudan’s independence four years ago. It is with some pride we now count ourselves Africa’s number one source of asylum seekers and economic migrants. We certainly punch above our weight among the swarms gathering in rubbishy boats in the Med and the woods around Calais…”
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Private Eye Issue 1399
private eye Only In The Magazine

10 Reasons Why Voting for Corbyn Will Lead to Civil War: Daily Mailograph Exclusive… It’s Brillo! The ‘Wedding of the Century’ Memorial Plate… Labour Demand Re-Run of General Election… Those Calais Songs of Praise Hymns They Didn’t Use… Santa Claus Handouts Probed by Accountants… A Level Gender Gap Widens as No Boy is Photographed Jumping for Joy

And also...

- Batman & Yentob: How neither got their stories straight in the Kids Company closure
- May day! Polls on why Labour lost the election still don’t tell the whole story
- PLUS: Fleeing Eritrea; a government gamble on super-fast gaming machines; and why the Corbyn tax figures don’t add up.
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: 1st September 2015.

Private Eye Issue 1398
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