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Columnists
Issue 1391
agri brigade
With Bio-Waste Spreader: "Despite the creation of a Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA), severe price cutting by Britain’s big four supermarkets is putting huge strain on UK food suppliers. Farm gate prices for milk, beef, lamb, grain, vegetables and potatoes are all down heavily and, according to a survey from insolvency specialist Begbies Traynor, the number of small or medium-sized UK food businesses in financial trouble has risen 120 percent…”
medicine balls
With M.D.: "Pre-election rhetoric on the NHS has descended into a predictable fantasy-promise auction. Politicians know they don’t have a hope in hell of providing a seven-day NHS (Tory), a same-day GP appointment for anyone over 75 (Tory), or a midwife by your side every minute of labour (Labour). Even if the money were available, where would we suddenly grow 8,000 more GPs, 20,000 more nurses and 3,000 more midwives (Labour and Ukip)? And is being able to see a GP on Sunday afternoon really the best use of NHS resources (Tory)? …”
signal failures
With Dr B Ching: "The main political parties reckon only commuters deserve a rail-fare freeze, so other passengers will see prices continue to rocket – some as soon as ten days after the election. One of the last acts of David Cameron’s government was to hand First Great Western a cosy ‘direct award’ franchise (no rival firms allowed to bid), which his transport secretary trumpeted as ‘a fantastic deal’ for passengers. A month later, Cameron asked FGW to reconsider its 17 May price rise for stations near his Oxfordshire constituency…”
eye tv
With Remote Controller: "Generations of senior politicians and broadcasters have lamented… the impact on television political coverage of the ‘stopwatch rules’. Under statutory requirements of ‘balance’, the three main UK parliamentary parties – defined, in alphabetical order, as Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrats – must have roughly equal coverage in time and tone. So, if a leaked memo suggested that the Home Office has discussed the possible slaughter of all the third born as a means of population control, a typical BBC or ITV news report would feature three shoppers: one saying that she was appalled as a mother, another muttering that there were too many nippers in her opinion and a third suggesting that free contraceptive dispensers in supermarkets might be the answer…
[reviews of Election 2015 (BBC/ITV)].”
keeping the lights on
With Old Sparky: "Just as cheap gas is displacing coal for generating UK electricity, the European Commission has gone to war with Russian gas giant Gazprom, Europe’s biggest supplier. Smoke signals from Gazprom’s big London trading operation suggest, however, the EC might eventually find no one there on whom to serve the writs. For decades Gazprom exported in bulk and its day-to-day trading activities were small, conducted through middlemen. Then ten years ago it set up Gazprom Marketing & Trading (GMT), with 450 people in smart Regent’s Park offices, to market gas and electricity to industrial customers. While top GMT management remained secretive and Russian, ordinary employees got on with undercutting other suppliers on price and GMT grew impressively…”
nooks and corners
With Piloti: "A developer called CLTX Ltd has just demolished, without warning, without permission and with no proper health and safety procedures in place, the Carlton Tavern in Maida Vale. It didn’t even warn the landlady until shortly beforehand. As English Heritage had proposed this pub for listing at grade II and was awaiting a response from the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), we can guess why…”
music and musicians
With Lunchtime O’Boulez: "Is O’Boulez alone in finding it odd that nearly every arts organisation in the country seems to be pleading poverty or to be on the brink of ruin, yet many still announce grand plans to rebuild their premises at vast expense –frequently not long after a previous makeover was supposed to have perfected them? Projects have been piling up of late, starting with the strangely out-of-nowhere launch of a feasibility study for a new symphonic hall in London. This may well be needed; but it is only nine years since the Barbican was upgraded and a mere eight since £91m was spent on ‘transformation’ of the Festival Hall…”
books and bookmen
With Bookworm: "In today’s insecure literary world, where turning authors into brands is vital to their viability, publicising first-time novelists is relatively easy… [but] finding the necessary ‘author story’ for mid-career novelists, even when well-known and award-festooned, has become trickier. Hence, perhaps, the emerging phenomenon of the extended time-out treated as an indicator of a new book’s specialness…
in the city
With Slicker: "The Sunday Times Rich List may be in for some substantial revision if the ‘non-dom’ rules are scrapped, as Labour is promising. Only two of this year’s top 20 multi-billionaires look definitively UK-resident and domiciled for tax purposes: the aristocratic heads of those very British land-owning families, the Duke of Westminster and Earl Cadogan. As few as 50 of the 117 billionaires listed (42 percent) would look not to be potential or clear ‘non-doms’. That share only increases slightly to between 105 and 110 of the 250 wealthiest individuals or families whose wealth is estimated at more than £440m and who either have homes here or are British citizens. Most would seem to be likely ‘non-doms’ and possibly not even UK-resident for tax purposes…”
Letter from Freetown
From Our Own Correspondent: "
Rejoice! The ebola pandemic is easing and life is beginning to return to normal. In Sierra Leone, this means we can enjoy a long overdue political crisis which, in keeping with tradition, is both pointless and serious. President Ernest Koroma, one of Tony Blair’s favourites in Africa, last month decided to call time on a longstanding feud with his deputy, Samuel Sam-Sumana, expelling him from the ruling All People’s Congress and telling him in a terse press release he had been replaced as vice-president. Alas, our constitution gives Koroma no such power. Only parliament can remove a president or his deputy…”
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Next issue on sale:
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Private Eye Issue 1391
private eye Only In The Magazine

Trident to be replaced by the Loch Ness monster if Labour Wins, says Daily Mail… Lord Janner: Me and My Spoon… New from Gnomemart: The Inflatable Ed… Cameron: ‘I’m a lifelong Tuscan Villa fan’… That Slimmed Down Ukip BBC Schedule in Full… The New Caring Clarkson Column… Nursery Times: Mrs Goggins Wrongly Accused of Fraud...How to write the same piece more than 1,000 times with Polly Toynbee: Grauniad Masterclasses

And also...

- Maths myths: MD unpicks the parties’ fantasy promises for the NHS
- Princess of Wails: Police launch a new inquiry at the troubled Bridgend hospital
- Headmaster’s Message: Hello… or is it goodbye from the New Coalition Academy?
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: 12th May 2015.

Private Eye Issue 1390
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