Issue 1514
agri brigade
With Bio-Waste Spreader: "Given that the government’s new agriculture bill contains none of the promised guarantees that, post-Brexit, imported food will have to meet current UK production standards, it’s easy to see why farmers and many consumers are so alarmed… The lack of any commitment to ensure imported food matches UK production standards has potentially ruinous implications for UK agriculture and disturbing implications for farm animal welfare and food safety. No wonder Friends of the Earth and the National Farmers’ Union have pleaded for the government to set existing regulation into law…”
medicine balls
With MD: "When a widely used painkiller is used to administer the death penalty, you know how dangerous it can be. On 15 August 2018, the synthetic opioid drug fentanyl was added to a cocktail of drugs used to execute Carey Dean Moore, a murderer of taxi drivers, in Lincoln, Nebraska. Fresenius Kabi, a German drug company, tried to prevent the drug being used because of the risk of ‘reputational damage’. The action was never likely to succeed, given that around 72,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2017 and most involved opioids such as fentanyl, which can cause severe respiratory depression…”
eye tv
With Remote Controller: "Faced with the precipitous decline in ratings for its long-time reality contest shows, ITV is desperate to grow new weekend peak-time hits. It seems to have found one in the most talked-about format since, 20 years ago, Simon Fuller’s Pop Idol and Simon Cowell’s The X Factor (the first names of the creators not the only similarity) made recording auditions big TV business. The Masked Singer, which reached its fourth round on Saturday night, is a song contest, but one that seems to have been invented by someone who, getting bored during The X Factor, ingested large quantities of hallucinogenic drugs and imagined a parody…
[reviews of the The Masked Singer (ITV) and Love Island (ITV2)].”
keeping the lights on
With Old Sparky: "Keeping the lights on is a complex science that’s easily taken for granted, and National Grid (NG) has been pretty competent by global standards. But as the electricity system changes fundamentally to embrace decarbonisation, there’s no room for complacency. Last August’s serious blackouts saw important services (hospitals, railways and airports) and 1.15m customers lose power. The consequences would not have been so severe had key parties been doing what they should have, official reports published this month make clear...”
music and musicians
With Lunchtime O’Boulez: "The resignation of Martin Baker after 20 years as master of the music at Westminster Cathedral has finally blown open the story of internecine war in the choir stalls and school. Cardinal Vincent Nichols, who is ultimately responsible, is facing calls to retire before his position becomes untenable. At the start of the year, the cathedral choir school stopped full-time boarding for its choristers – despite protests from parents, worshippers, and eminent musicians who recognise this as the first step in dismantling a world-class choir and the only full choral foundation left in Britain’s Catholic church…”
in the city
With Slicker: "The ‘Megxit’ soap opera will ensure forensic media attention not just on Harry and Meghan, but also on those who play any role in their forthcoming business adventures, either as advisers or paymasters. One adviser to escape significant attention so far is Stefan Allesch-Taylor, appointed chairman last September of their new charitable foundation, Sussex Royal, the Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex…”
air rage
With Fokker: "The government’s £100m bailout for airline Flybe, coupled with its plan to cut air passenger duty (APD) for all domestic flights, has angered everyone from the rail industry to climate campaigners. But one man is no doubt laughing: Richard ‘Beardie’ Branson, the Virgin tycoon and Flybe backer who no longer runs trains…
eye world
Letter from Baghdad
From Our Own Correspondent:
"When US president Donald Trump remarked last year that the enmity between Turkey and the Kurds was like a playground fight, we Iraqis gave a hollow laugh. The same could be said about the US and Iran. The problem is, we’re the playground. It came to a head this month when the Americans killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in a drone strike. It’s not that we mourn him – he was responsible for arming militia that have killed many Iraqis – but we didn’t like the US doing its dirty business on our land. Similarly, we’re fine with the Iranians targeting US troops - just not on Iraqi bases, please…”
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Next issue on sale: 18th February 2020
Private Eye Issue 1514
In This Issue
Frog Prince agrees to hop it – Nursery Times Exclusive… Arlene and Michelle in the jacuzzi (‘Stormont’, shurely?) as reality show Love Ireland returns… I was a victim of racism too, claims exiled posh, white Fergie… GB steps away from UK to start new life in Toronto to get away from the Royal Family… Government announces costly plan for new HL2 House of Lords in York… Rebecca Long-Bailey’s Diary, as told to Craig Brown

Offshore travel
Flybe’s long haul bailout

Opioid crisis
MD on deadly painkillers

Kingdom Cummings
Dom’s favourite book

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18th February 2020
Private Eye Issue 1513