COLUMNISTS
Issue 1507
agri brigade
With Bio-Waste Spreader: "A leaked internal memo prepared for Defra secretary Theresa Villiers warns that she will come under ‘significant pressure’ from Liz Truss, her counterpart at international trade, to weaken UK food and environmental standards to ‘accommodate’ a post-Brexit trade deal with the US. But will Villiers, a prominent Brexiter and free trade fan, resist? Truss, herself secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs from 2014 to 2016, makes no secret of her desire to sign international trade deals quickly post-Brexit, even if it means turning a blind eye to regulatory differences between the UK and any new trading partners… ‘I want to take a much more free-market approach’…”
medicine balls
With MD: "How will Brexit protect the lives of the 3.5m people in the UK suffering from rare diseases? Last month, MD was one of many signatories to a letter to cabinet ministers Matt Hancock and Michael Gove organised by the patient support group Autoinflammatory UK, seeking urgent reassurances. The response from Hancock on 30 September was predictably vague. Rare diseases are defined as those affecting fewer than 1 in 2,000 people; but because there are up to 8,000 of them, the absolute number of patients and families affected is very significant…”
signal failures
With Dr B Ching: "The rail-franchising system famously treats moving trains as more important than moving passengers, and now TransPennine Express has taken that to another level – cancelling trains so it can, er, run empty ones instead. In the week beginning 30 September, the Eye counted 19 services which TPE cancelled and replaced with empty trains at the same times. TPE continued the practice last week. Either trains were cancelled entirely or hapless passengers were turfed out prematurely so a different train could depart from the same station at the advertised time, with no passenger allowed to board…”
eye tv
With Remote Controller: "Reality TV formats, after achieving success by turning unknowns into minor public figures, almost inevitably succumb to special editions featuring minor public figures who are at risk of becoming unknown again. So here come The X Factor: Celebrity (ITV) and Celebrity Hunted (C4) although their motivations are somewhat different. The latter is a contribution, complete with an appeals ticker across the screen, to C4’s commendable telethon Stand Up to Cancer. The former is an attempt to titivate Simon Cowell’s failing ITV pop karaoke show, the network finally accepting that it is not sufficient innovation for the much-tweaked tycoon himself to turn up himself with a new face each series…”
keeping the lights on
With Old Sparky: "Last year, as the avalanche of energy company bankruptcies began (13 so far), we reported that dodgy suppliers were wilfully sitting on customers’ money earmarked for the ‘green’ and social schemes financed through our energy bills. Now regulator Ofgem has set an October deadline for payment, revealing that the most troublesome defaulter (£9.5m) is our old friend Robin Hood Energy (RHE), in the throes of a cash-flow crisis. Acute political embarrassment, then, for the spartist Nottingham councillors behind RHE, the 11 other councils whose own energy schemes are dependent on RHE, and its most famous customer, Jeremy Corbyn…”
music and musicians
With Lunchtime O’Boulez: "News that English National Opera has appointed Annilese Miskimmon as its new artistic director was met with guarded approval last week. The Northern Irish stage director has one major virtue: she knows something about running opera companies, which is more than you can say for those in charge at ENO right now. Miskimmon has led the small but influential Opera Theatre Company in Ireland, been artistic director of Danish National Opera, and is currently running the Norwegian National Opera in Oslo – all pedigree. But her record is not unblemished…”
in the city
With Slicker: "Convicted conman and sex party organiser ‘Fast Eddie’ Davenport posted on his Instagram account on 16 September a picture of himself with Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, taken at a ‘secret location in Westminster’. ‘Lord’ Davenport was finally sentenced to more than seven years in jail in 2011 after a conviction for a series of frauds costing more than £30m. He was released in 2014 on health grounds but has been living large ever since. The Brexit Party did not respond to the Eye’s questions about how and where Eddie met Nigel and whether they had met before. Just what a conman and the leader of the Brexit Party would have to discuss is unclear. Perhaps who has the wildest party?…”
eye world
Letter from Kabul
From Our Own Correspondent:
"It is inevitable that elections here in Afghanistan will be plagued by corruption, controversy and claims of victory by the main contenders, long after a disputed result is announced. So it has been since the delayed 28 September presidential contest between incumbent Ashraf Ghani and his main rival, Abdullah Abdullah. A host of real and imaginary problems held up the counting process and an official declaration. Undeterred, followers of both men were quick to say they had won, leaving us in a constitutional no-man’s land. But the outcome is perhaps a secondary issue: it was quite something to have had any kind of election at all…”
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Next issue on sale: 29th October 2019
gnitty
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Private Eye Issue 1507
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Cowardly Kurds: The Donald Trump Guide to Great American Battles from History… Interviewee Jennifer Arcuri Refuses To Say if She Had Financial Relations With ITV’s Piers Moron… ‘Incredible and Untrue’: Police Slam ‘Nick’ Enquiry Judge… Spineless BBC Censored My Thought for the Day, Says Chief Jedi… Tax Paid by Facebook Rockets to ‘Negligible’… Oil’s Well That Ends: the New RSC Season – Now Without BP Sponsorship… Lady Glenconner’s Diary, as told to Craig Brown

Zadie Smith
A literary superstar comes up short

Food for thought
Why the future’s scary for UK farmers

Battle royal
Harry and Meghan go it alone against the press

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Private Eye Issue 1506