Issue 1503
agri brigade
With Bio-Waste Spreader: "In the immediate aftermath of a no-deal Brexit, a reduction in food supplies is likely to lead to a sharp increase in UK food prices. The government is already considering ways to alleviate the impact on those on low incomes. But is longer-term thinking needed to ensure that, post-Brexit, everyone will be able to afford healthy food that is produced in an environmentally sustainable way? A recent report from the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) has highlighted how poverty is resulting in a demand for cheap, poor-quality food, creating both a public health crisis and encouraging environmentally damaging farming…”
medicine balls
With MD: "Austerity, recession and job insecurity are strongly linked with poor mental health, and mental health services in the UK are already stretched to breaking point. Between 2009 and 2018, 6,800 mental health nurses were lost, down 15 percent. Meanwhile, the number of doctors in specialist psychiatric training fell by 20 percent, and beds available for patients with serious mental health issues fell by more than 8,000. This chronic and shameful underfunding has left the NHS unable to cope with current austerity-driven demands safely, and it is utterly ill-prepared to cope with the extra burdens of a possible no-deal Brexit…”
signal failures
With Dr B Ching: "Transport minister George Freeman blasted Greater Anglia for poor customer service at Cambridge on 6 August, but the train firm was merely implementing Tory policy. His Govia Thameslink Railway train from London arrived six minutes late and the doors of the 9.09am Greater Anglia train to Norwich closed as he and others ran towards it. He tweeted that GA should have discretion ‘when it’s 15 seconds for your customers’. British Rail would have held the Norwich train but Freeman’s party replaced BR with profit-driven franchisees and fines for any delays they cause, including delays to allow passengers to board. ‘We cannot hold services for other operator [sic] late trains in most cases,’ GA told Freeman. He was incredulous; but the chief duty of GA, owned by Abellio and Mitsui, is to maximise shareholder returns and not waste money on avoidable fines…”
eye tv
With Remote Controller: "At this week’s Edinburgh International TV Festival, a key topic of conversation among vapists outside the venue, and those sucking down brassica smoothies inside, will be how long traditional channel identity can last. Streaming and downloading have ended the days when a commissioner or critic might suggest that a certain show is ‘a bit BBC2 for BBC1’ or ‘more ITV than BBC’. So let’s play a game of TV whodunnit, starting with Deep Water, a six-part thriller in which professional couples living in the Lake District are revealed to have interlocking sexual and financial secrets…
[reviews of Deep Water, Fosse/Verdon and Sacred Wonders]”
keeping the lights on
With Old Sparky: "When the lights have gone out in recent years, the cause has mostly been severe weather, and the effects localised. This month’s widespread power failures, and several near misses in recent weeks, are systemic and far more disconcerting. Addressing the infrastructure challenges involved is now an imperative. The entire system used to be relatively stable, based around predictable electricity demand and the cost of fuels (coal, gas). Occasional problems were relatively easy to manage. Thanks to ‘green’ policies, it is becoming a far more complex set-up driven by cost-free but fluctuating wind, bringing serious system-balancing challenges for National Grid…”
music and musicians
With Lunchtime O’Boulez: "One of the standard talking points on the Edinburgh Festival concert round is how wonderful it will be when the city finally has a decent, state-of-the-art hall for chamber music, as is planned. There's a design, by respected architect David Chipperfield, which was passed by Edinburgh's planning authorities in April. The finance is more or less in place, with money from both the UK and Scottish governments for what, at £45m, is a relatively modest price. And earlier this month construction firm Sir Robert McAlpine was appointed as building contractor. All of which should offer Edinburgh an attractive building ready for use in 2023. Alas, an international juggernaut called Nuveen Real Estate has intervened to do all it can to stop this new hall happening…”
in the city
With Slicker: "Whatever the rights and wrongs of Burford Capital’s accounting policies, one issue where ‘short seller’ Carson Block, aka Muddy Waters, was right on the money is the litigation funder’s ‘laughter-inducing’ corporate governance. The one-time largest AIM-listed company – more than £4bn at its peak last year – has an ancient, male, particularly pale and incredibly stale board of directors who in effect do not run Burford but have for years waved through annual reports which reveal no details about the pay, perks or pensions of those who do… Remarkable even by AIM’s lax standards…”
eye world
Letter from Dakar
From Our Own Correspondent
: "Arriving on the breezy shores of Dakar from almost anywhere else in West Africa makes a lot of people exhale through pursed lips. There’s none of the hassle you get in places like Lagos. Police tend to halt traffic for actual rather than imagined violations. The lights mostly work; surgical patients stand a reasonable chance of leaving hospital alive; petrol stations don’t run out of fuel and there’s a semblance of rule of law – at least if your adversary isn’t connected to the government. The main reason isn’t hard to discover: Senegal has never had big quantities of oil or minerals. We’ve been spared the ‘resource curse’…”
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Next issue on sale: 1st October 2019
Private Eye Issue 1503
In This Issue
Millions of Homes Plunged into Darkness About What Happens Next in UK Politics… Operation Browntrouser – The Sunday Gnomes Reveals Secret Government No-Deal Brexit Warning… Tributes Pour in From Absolutely No One Following the Death of Wealthy Socialite Jeffrey Epstein… Dick Braine Beats Off Hugh Janus and Wayne Kerr to Become New Ukip Leader... Britons Would Rather Die Face Down in a Ditch Than Trade with EU, Finds Daily Telegraph Poll … Labour Accuse Tories of ‘Playing Politics’ With Raft of Vote-Winning Ideas… The Predictors: Where Will We Be by the End of the Year? as told to Craig Brown

Mental health
MD on a no-deal Brexit

Dam stats
Canal & River Trust uplugged

Power cuts
Keeping the Lights On Special

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1st October 2019
Private Eye Issue 1502