Issue 1511
agri brigade
With Bio-Waste Spreader: "Food will form an important part of any post-Brexit bilateral trade deal between the UK and the US. But what will the long-term consequences be for British consumers if the UK diverges from EU food regulations? US food safety regulations reflect broader American cultural assumptions that products are ‘safe’ unless there is evidence to the contrary. This system relies heavily on self-regulation by farmers and food manufacturers, with the threat of litigation should products be found to be harmful. This contrasts with the EU, which applies the precautionary principle to food regulation…”
medicine balls
With MD: "Health secretary Matt Hancock’s cunning plan to distract from Labour’s ‘our NHS is not for sale’ mantra is to promise to ‘look into’ the disastrous PFI hospital building contracts signed off under Tony Blair. It’s a bold move: PFI was a Tory idea stolen by Blair and Gordon Brown to keep NHS spending off the books. Hancock is right that hospitals could have been built publicly at a fraction of the cost. And he has also promised to build 40 new hospitals without using a penny of PFI. However, where he would find the billions to build these unnamed hospitals and buy the NHS out of its costly PFI contracts is a mystery…”
signal failures
With Dr B Ching: "Scrutiny of the cost of Labour’s rail pledges eclipsed new statistics showing the current railway’s eye-watering cost last month. In the 1990s, the Tories decided British Rail was ‘deeply inefficient’ and broke it up. Efficiency worsened; but the Labour government waited until February 2010 to order a ‘value for money study’, which eventually found the fragmented rail system’s costs ‘would need to reduce by some 40 percent to match those in the comparator countries’ abroad. Newly installed Tory ministers ignored the evidence and stuck with franchising…”
eye tv
With Remote Controller: "BBC director-general Tony ‘Wolf’ Hall and his management pack are paid so much they will have read with some apprehension the higher-rate taxation policies in all manifestos except the Tory one. With regard to the funding and future of the institution that inflatedly pays them, meanwhile, the Johnson document makes reading as grim as all the others. It warns that the BBC will be expected to fund the restoration of free TV licences to all over-75s, which the broadcaster has elected to means-test. (The absence of any Tory reference to the future funding and form of the BBC suggests that options are being menacingly left open.) Labour says it will ‘protect’ pro bono viewing for the oldest, although it is tantalisingly unspoken whether this burden would be funded by the government or imposed on Wolf …
[reviews of the 2019 general election manifestos]”
keeping the lights on
With Old Sparky: "Regular readers will recall the pantomime of energy suppliers Robin Hood Energy and Bristol Energy, the loss-making vanity projects owned by local councils whose taxpayers are endlessly shelling out subsidies in ever greater amounts. Most councils get the message and steer clear of punting on the energy market, where small suppliers are dropping like flies. But not all. Warrington borough council has just boldly ‘invested’ £18m in a half-share of unprofitable, precariously financed Scottish supplier Together Energy (TE), and committed another £4m in loans…”
music and musicians
With Lunchtime O’Boulez: "The season of goodwill to all has been interpreted somewhat selectively this year by clergy at St Bartholomew the Great, Smithfield, a church that used to prioritise choral music and was famous for it until a change of personnel ushered in a more commercial (some would say hard-nosed) approach to how it raises money…”
in the city
With Slicker: "Once again the Fundamentally Complicit Authority and its Oliver Hardy-like chief executive Andrew Bailey have shown how unfit for purpose they both are when it comes to protecting investors from those the FCA is supposed to regulate. It is meant to ensure that private investors fully understand what they and their money are getting into. The latest addition to the FCA/Bailey charge sheet (which has grown exponentially throughout the year) is last week’s suspension of redemptions by the £2.5bn M&G Property Portfolio fund, made necessary by rising cash outflows of £901m in the 10 months to October – triple the 2018 rate…”
eye world
Letter from Windhoek
From Our Own Correspondent:
"In Namibia, usually the dullest and most stable of African countries, there is a distinctly fishy smell in the air. The South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO) led us to independence from apartheid South Africa in 1990 and has comfortably won every election since. Our traditionally dismal and divided opposition has further fuelled a culture of corrupt mediocrity and entitlement in government. But the 27 November presidential and parliamentary elections were altogether livelier, with incumbent Hage Geingob’s victory a mystery to all but his closest supporters…”
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Next issue on sale: 21st January 2020
Private Eye Issue 1511
In This Issue
PM reduces terror level down from Neil to Marr then Robinson… Jacob no longer the silliest Rees-Mogg… Twitter embraces left-wing firebrand Andrew Neil… Nato plays vital peace-keeping role at Nato summit… The sad end of the Apo’strophe Society… A Rock vs A Hard Place – Britain Decides… MailOnline, as seen by Craig Brown

Daylight Raabery
Off his head over NHS drug prices

It’s WikiBeaks!
Assange judge steps aside

Club Thai
Brexit Party’s Mr Moneybags

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21st January 2020
Private Eye Issue 1510