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Columnists
Issue 1369
agri brigade
With Bio-Waste Spreader: "Environment secretary Owen Paterson has caved in to the farm lobby by allowing arable farmers to include hedgerows within the 5 percent of land they must set aside for wildlife conservation from next year as part of reforms to the EU’s common agricultural policy. His decision makes a mockery of a conservation measure designed to reverse the alarming decline in bio-diversity on arable farms; but it also means his department, Defra, will have to spend millions of pounds measuring the length and width of English arable farm hedges before farmers can receive their subsidies…”
medicine balls
With M.D.: "Health secretary Jeremy Hunt must order an inquiry into whistleblowing in the NHS. He cannot hope to fulfil his promise of no more health service cover-ups without understanding why and how the numerous cover-ups in the past have happened. His inquiry must reach every level of the NHS, to show how high up the chain the denial, incompetence, amnesia and wilful blindness has gone. M.D. has long since given up on the General Medical Council as having any meaningful role in calling doctors to account or protecting patients from avoidable harm…”
signal failures
With Dr B Ching: "The government has apparently decided that train fares shouldn’t reflect what local markets can afford to bear as it struggles to cope with the inefficiency of rail franchising. ‘Some areas have fares significantly below what is found elsewhere,’ the Department for Transport mutters in its consultation on the next Northern and TransPennine franchises. DafT is thus considering ‘relaxation in fares regulation to help fund enhancements’ (ie rises in fares which have been capped since privatisation) and ‘increasing below-average fares over time to levels typical on the rest of the network’…”
eye tv
With Remote Controller: "The quadrennial global football tournament is all about tense head-to-heads, but there are few encounters as tactical and fractious as the meeting, shortly after the World Cup draw, between BBC and ITV officials to decide who will screen live which of England’s early matches… At last December’s face-off, the channel captains eventually settled on a 1-2-1 formation: the BBC would screen Roy’s boys’ first game against Italy, with ITV having live rights to the second and third group games against Uruguay and Costa Rica, and the corporation going alone upfront for the second round knockout game. The deal was calculated to give both sides a large audience for an early group game and then an even bigger tally for the third and fourth fixtures on which so much more would rest, the view being that England would need a result in the Costa Rica match and would struggle through to the next round. But what looked like clever pessimism turned out to be lunatic optimism…
[Reviews of World Cup 2014, BBC1/ITV]…”
keeping the lights on
With Old McSparky: "News that Scotland has missed its target in reducing CO2 emissions prompts a look at the SNP’s much vaunted energy policy which, alas, simply doesn’t add up. The SNP plans to produce ‘100 percent of Scotland’s electricity needs from renewables by 2020’; to continue exporting power to England; and at the same time to say ‘no’ to new nuclear power stations. But it has just noticed a serious flaw in this vision and is lobbying in vain to rescue its position…”
nooks and corners
With Piloti: "Acklam Hall near Middlesbrough is a superb 17th century country house with splendid interior plasterwork built around 1678. Pevsner thought it ‘a major monument of Yorkshire’; and English Heritage described it more recently as ‘of exceptional national interest, one of the North-East’s architectural jewels’… Until recently it was owned by Middlesbrough council and used by Middlesbrough College. But, like most local authorities that are strapped for cash, three years ago it decided to sell it to a developer. Acklam Hall Ltd then proposed to adapt the house as a wedding venue and conference centre, complete with spa, at a cost of £2m and, to pay for this boon, to allow Messrs Taylor Wimpey to build 56 ‘executive’ houses in the grounds…”
books and bookmen
With Bookworm: "Happy days for Val McDermid. In recent months she has joined a HarperCollins line-up of literary novelists updating Jane Austen (with her below-stairs status as a crime writer proving no bar), begun representing Scotland in Radio 4’s Round Britain Quiz… and announced that she is sponsoring Raith Rovers FC. But it may be because things are going so swimmingly that McDermid felt able to risk being naughty in her review in the Guardian of JK Rowling’s The Silkworm…”
in the city
With Slicker: "Not the launch Sir Philip Green (or MySale adviser Macquarie) had anticipated when Shelton Capital – ‘ultimately owned’ not by the great retailer (weekdays to be found at the Top Shop/Bhs headquarters in London), but by his Monaco-resident wife Lady Cristina – acquired 25 percent of the Australian fashion website just ahead of the IPO for A$87.5m (£48.6m). Still, there was a nice quick paper profit with the Shelton stake worth £69m. It is yet one more potentially tax-free benefit for Lady Cristina from being, as described in the MySale prospectus, the ‘owner of the Arcadia group’ – a role many ill-informed readers might imagine was that of her less publicity-shy husband, often but mistakenly referred to in the media as the effective owner of Arcadia and its Top Shop/Bhs chains. The reason for this confusion is that ownership of Arcadia would appear to lie with offshore family trusts created either before or after the Greens moved to Monaco in 1998 and Lady Tina established non-resident status…”
Letter from Baghdad
From Our Own Correspondent: "
Isis is not just a rag-tag mob of Sunni religious firebrands who stop anyone in their way with a beheading or a bullet. Murderous, knife-wielding gunmen are the vanguard; but they brought with them geekish experts who know how to run cities and how to direct qualified but unemployed Sunni Iraqi administrators. In Mosul, Isis hotheads whipped men for watching the World Cup on TV, but the city’s intermittent electricity was restored for six hours a day and streets are being swept…”
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Next issue on sale:
5th August 2014.
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Private Eye Issue 1369
private eye Only In The Magazine

Cameron Welcomes China’s Offer to Buy UK… England’s Disappointing World Cup ‘Good Preparation for Future’… Iron Maiden to Headline at Glyndebourne Now ‘Glastonbury’s Too Posh’… Tony Blair: Why I Was Right About Everything and Everyone Else Was Wrong… Why Can’t England Produce Decent Football Commentators… Hillary Clinton’s Diary, as told to Craig Brown

And also...

- Extra everything: More jokes, journalism and cartoons in our 48-page summer special
- Birthday honours: Some of those gongs for ‘extraordinary people’ really were odd, yes!
- Eyeworld: Briefings from Baghdad, Brussels, Burkina Faso and the Venice lagoon
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: 5th August 2014.

Private Eye Issue 1368
gnitty