Issue 1506
agri brigade
With Bio-Waste Spreader: "Farming organisations have taken some comfort from the supreme court’s ruling that the prime minister’s prorogation of parliament was illegal, as it has resulted in the resurrection of the Agriculture Bill. But are the likes of the Country Land and Business Association (until recently known as the Country Landowners Association) or Sustain (“the alliance for better food and farming”) right to think the bill stands any chance of making it on to the statute books? The Agriculture Bill was first proposed in 2017 but quickly became mired in cabinet disputes…”
medicine balls
With MD: "Like Brexit, Boris Johnson’s plans for the NHS are struggling to pass muster. After an announcement of “40 new hospitals” at the Tory conference, it transpired that he only has funding for six by 2025, and these may be partial upgrades rather than new builds. The cost, £2.7bn, may creep up post-Brexit, and the prime minister will need to find a minimum of £14bn for the 36 other projects to complete by 2030 (if he is still in office). Johnson is, however, right to identify crumbling hospital infrastructure as an urgent priority…”
signal failures
With Dr B Ching: "Transport secretary Grant Shapps has declared train franchisees’ pay should be linked to punctuality, more than 20 years after the Tories introduced incentives that, er, link franchisees’ pay to punctuality. “Don’t pay them” is Shapps’s solution to franchisees whose trains run late, but in most cases the delay isn’t the fault of the franchisee running the train. Delays are also caused by other train firms, “external events” (eg the weather) or Network Rail (NR). Thus passengers and taxpayers pay for hundreds of “delay attribution” clerks for the system of penalties and fines invented in the 1990s…”
eye tv
With Remote Controller: "Next year marks a decade since Channel 4 dropped Big Brother, in which young people competed to win a pilot as co-presenter of a Channel 5 lifestyle show, or a small cameo in one Christmas panto. The cancellation symbolised an intention to go upmarket and return to the permanent revolution of the schedules that had been the channel’s original remit. However, the house-share nightmare still has as nostalgically vivid a presence as photos of a lost loved one. The Circle, returning for a second series, is Big Brother re-brainstormed for the social media age.…”
keeping the lights on
With Old Sparky: "Who are Ovo and Octopus, previously unfamiliar names in gas and electricity supply, but dominating September’s energy headlines? Answer: two leading contenders to supplant the much maligned “Big 6”, whose poor customer service, opaque pricing and faltering IT systems did so much to bring the game into disrepute. With government leaning on suppliers to implement social and environmental policies, public hostility unremitting and demand for energy falling, several of the Big 6 have long wondered whether the residential supply game was worth the candle (Eye 1465). Can the upstarts do any better?”
music and musicians
With Lunchtime O’Boulez: "There was a sense of relief when Croydon’s Fairfield Halls finally reopened recently after a £41m refurbishment to address years of neglect (Eye 1410). The costs had overrun by £11m, the completion date was way behind schedule, and the opening night was the fifth in a succession of promised gala openings – the others cancelled as building works dragged on… The problem now is what to do with them to justify the effort, time and spend…”
in the city
With Slicker: "Who else is to blame for the Thomas Cook crash, beyond the overpaid but under-talented chief executive Peter Fankhauser (who blames everybody else)? While the Swiss and a trio of successive finance directors were the pilots, there was a crowded flight deck of non-executive fellow passengers as Thomas Cook flew into a long and deadly debt spiral. The loss-making leisure group was unusual in having only two executive directors but ten non-executives. All proved incapable of taking actions which might have saved the group – cutting borrowings and costs sooner, selling assets when they could.…”
eye world
Letter from Srinagar
From Our Own Correspondent:
"India’s disputed northern Kashmir region continues to churn, almost two months after our prime minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist BJP government arbitrarily revoked Kashmir’s seven-decade-old special constitutional status that guaranteed its autonomy and special flag. Federal security officials concede that since the government’s fiat of 5 August, which split Jammu and Kashmir state into two federal administered territories, the situation in the restive Himalayan region, possibly the world’s most militarised, is explosive…”
To read all these columnists and more in full, get the latest edition of Private Eye - you can subscribe here and have the magazine delivered to your home every fortnight.

Next issue on sale: 12th November 2019
Private Eye Issue 1506
In This Issue
Anger as PM uses Cox’s name to support Brexit… Fury as will of the people ignored… British holidaymaker speaks of ‘Thomas Cook hell’… 98,713th illegal act in office could lead to Trump’s impeachment… Prince Harry: he’s not ‘a hippy’… Vaping under the spotlight… Saudi Arabia ‘to open up to tourists’… Downton Abbey: the Movie, as told to Craig Brown

Hall to play for
Who’s in line to be the next BBC director-general

‘No deal’ hole
The European Commission’s €11bn dilemma

Sun burns
Shameful tabloid tactics in the Gareth Thomas HIV story

Read these stories and much more - only in the magazine. Subscribe here to get delivery direct to your home and never miss an issue!
ONLY £2.00
12th November 2019
Private Eye Issue 1505