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Columnists
Issue 1387
agri brigade
With Bio-Waste Spreader: "Midland Pig Producers Ltd doesn’t appear to have achieved any benefit four years after hiring Carter-Fuck to accuse the Soil Association of defamation over its objections to MPP’s plan for a huge indoor pig farm at Foston in Derbyshire. After much deliberation the Environment Agency says it isn’t satisfied the farm can be built without ‘significant pollution of the environment due to odour which will result in offence to human senses’. This is a remarkable reversal for the proposed ‘farm’ given that in 2011 the EA had withdrawn its opposition, and South Derbyshire district council had indicated it did not object to it…”
medicine balls
With M.D.: "Dr Hayley Dare, a highly regarded NHS clinical psychologist, has been raising concerns for some years in the country’s biggest mental health trust, West London Mental Health NHS Trust, about poor patient care and staff welfare. In August 2012, for example, the trust’s forensic director closed a ward on the women’s mental health unit without warning. This led to a 72-year-old woman having to sleep in a windowless, isolated padded room because there was no normal bed for her; she died a fortnight later. The trust’s investigation into Dr Dare’s allegations was never published but her concerns were subsequently upheld in court…”
signal failures
With Dr B Ching: "KPMG went beyond the call of duty, even by consultancy standards, when it produced a report for the government in September 2013 on the future benefits of the north-south HS2 railway… Many economists were gobsmacked by the way KPMG risked its reputation to please its client… It must just be coincidence that the government has now recruited Stuart Westgate, whose job as director of KPMG’s ‘major projects advisory’ since 2011 has involved advising clients on big projects which are in play or are running over time or budget. And Westgate’s new role? Er, programme development director for HS2…”
eye tv
With Remote Controller: "Unfortunately, if an audience advice hotline had been set up during EastEnders Live Week [BBC1/BBC3] – a multi-project, multi-platform celebration of the mockney soap’s 30th anniversary – it could only be aimed at the tiny percentage of viewers who had discovered (or suspected) that their 10-year-old son had killed his half-sister. This conclusion to the ‘Who killed Lucy Beale?’ storyline, which has been running since last Easter, has been generally dismissed as ridiculous and underwhelming. It certainly is but, given the programme’s goals, it was also probably the only plausible outcome…”
keeping the lights on
With Old McSparky: "The disingenuous rhetoric of Scottish energy policy is unravelling as the SNP begins lobbying to secure financial featherbedding for Scotland’s large, ageing Longannet power station, one of the ‘Dirty Thirty’ top polluting power stations in Europe…”
nooks and corners
With Piloti: "Andrew Gibson House, overlooking the Mersey at Wallasey, stands empty and forlorn, and under threat of demolition. A large and substantial building of red brick and stone, it was opened in 1906 as a sanctuary for the widows of old sailors and of men lost at sea. This charitable institution was paid for by the son of Andrew Gibson, a wealthy Liverpool cotton merchant, and it stands in Mariners’ Park in Egremont, first opened in 1882. This was a garden village, a sort of Port Sunlight, intended as a home for friendless, aged and incapacitated mariners… [But] this legacy has been ill-treated by the heirs to this charitable trust. Many of the cottages and other buildings in Mariners’ Park have gone and the owners of Andrew Gibson House, the merchant navy union Nautilus (formerly NUMAST), now want to demolish it…”
music and musicians
With Lunchtime O’Boulez: "What is an elder statesman with an interest in music to do to pass his twilight years? In the case of Jacques Attali, economist, former right-hand man to French president François Mitterrand and founder of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the answer is: take up conducting. Attali, 71, who now sells himself as a musician, last week conducted the Southbank Sinfonia at a surreal event – engulfed by PRs, aides, photographers and bodyguards - in Vivienne Duffield’s lavishly appointed new JW3: the Jewish cultural centre for north London. It was a straightforward, easy-listening programme of the kind that plays itself. Which was just as well: in 30 years of concert-going, never has O’Boulez witnessed conducting of such self-delusional incompetence…”
books and bookmen
With Bookworm: "For Faber & Faber, the media welcome for Kazuo Ishiguro’s first novel for a decade looked to be shaping up so well ahead of its publication. At the Daily Telegraph, Faber author Gaby Wood, the Telegraph titles’ ‘head of books’, was going to interview Ishiguro for the Saturday arts section cover story, which would also include an extract… from his novel set in the Dark Ages, The Buried Giant. Over at the London Review of Books, which is edited by Faber author Mary-Kay Wilmers… there was such excitement at the prospect of Ishiguro’s return that the normally tardy magazine decided to run its review even before Faber published the book – and who better to assess it than Faber novelist Adam Mars-Jones? Yet things went awkwardly pear-shaped…”
in the city
With Slicker: "Police, prosecutors, regulators and HM Revenue & Customs are meeting in London to discuss what – if anything – can be done to quell public and political outrage about the past activities of HSBC’s Swiss private bank. So far the answer has been one individual prosecution by HMRC for tax evasion and 500 confidential tax settlements to collect £135m. On this week’s agenda is whether not just clients but also bank executives or HSBC itself can be prosecuted for tax, money laundering or any other criminal offences. However, some legal experts doubt whether either HSBC or its senior directors, never mind the HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) subsidiary and its directors or managers, can be successfully prosecuted here, despite the clamour to do so and claims that prosecution is possible on the basis of ‘credible evidence’ of enabling tax evasion…”
Letter from Kinshasa
From Our Own Correspondent: "
Our president, Joseph Kabila, is an angry man these days. He has been leader of the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 2001, when he took over from his dad, who had been assassinated by his bodyguard. He won elections in 2006 and 2011, partly by hook and partly by crook, and now he’s looking for ways to get around a constitution that says he must stand down when his second term is up next year…”
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:
17th March 2015.
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Private Eye Issue 1387
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Was Ernst Blofeld Radicalised by MI6?... The Jihadi John I Knew – by Everyone… Santa to Move Christmas for 2022… Social Care Scandal as Elderly Lady Has Fall… Me and My Spoon, with Green Party leader Natalie Bennett… Greece: Brussels Hails Historic Agreement to Pretend it has an Historic Agreement… Will Hutton: The Overstate We’re In, as told to Craig Brown

And also...

- Radio silence: The other big media group that sat on the tax avoidance story
- Leak stew: Fixers and shady sheikhs emerge from the HSBC shadows
- Telegraph timeline: Inside story of the once-great paper’s fall from grace
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: 17th March 2015.

Private Eye Issue 1386
gnitty