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Columnists
Issue 1375
agri brigade
With Bio-Waste Spreader: "Natural England, whose job is to protect and improve the bio-diversity of flora and fauna, has produced an ‘internal assessment’ suggesting that the rate of destruction of England’s wildflower meadows has risen. But is this true – or is the quango, whose budget has been cut by 30 percent and its staff almost halved since the coalition took office, just seeking to embarrass the government?…”
medicine balls
With M.D.: "Oh the irony. Labour’s killer argument to win the next election – that the Tories are destroying the NHS – has become Alex Salmond’s killer argument to win independence and lose Labour some safe seats. Salmond argues that privatisation of the NHS in England will shrink the health budget and have a knock-on effect in Scotland, and that independence will protect the budget and allow protection from future privatisation to be (hastily) written into the Scottish constitution. Yet the NHS in Scotland is already devolved and has the power to resist private providers…”
signal failures
With Dr B Ching: "Network Rail now has a £34bn debt – heading rapidly for £50bn. Changes to European accounting rules have forced the government to class NR as state-owned and place NR’s debts on its books – scary, given how they dwarf NR’s annual revenue (£6.3bn last year), of which around two-thirds comes from taxpayers…”
eye tv
With Remote Controller: "While the US presidential elections traditionally offer an opportunity for the BBC’s current affairs presenters to have a holiday in Washington DC, the Scottish independence referendum gives them the chance to go home to have a stovie with the folks. On what was potentially the final weekend of the UK as we know it, expat anchors Randy Marr and Brillo Neil both flew north for yes-or-no editions of their regular BBC1 shows…
[review of Scotland Decides: The Big, Big Debate, This Week and The Andrew Marr Show (all BBC1)].”
keeping the lights on
With Old Sparky: "With unplanned shut-downs at four big power stations under way, keeping the lights on this winter may be more of a challenge than the National Grid was anticipating. Barring freak weather, it will probably succeed. But the panicky measures being cobbled together are an indictment of the past decade of energy policy…”
nooks and corners
With Piloti: "St John’s Church in Coleford in the Forest of Dean is a rather grand Gothic building of 1878-80 by F.S. Waller, which the Buildings of England volume for Gloucestershire considers ‘one of his largest and best churches.’ It is listed, grade II, and replaced an earlier building of which only the tower survives in the centre of the town. It is certainly a large building, and the Diocese of Gloucester has allowed it to get into poor condition. Three years ago the Heritage Lottery Fund offered a grant of £88,000 towards carrying out ‘urgent repairs’; but it has become clear the diocese does not want St John’s to be repaired…”
music and musicians
With Lunchtime O’Boulez: "When the annual Proms closed last weekend it was with the BBC’s usual self-congratulatory triumphalism – not entirely without reason. People like the Proms, they’re a success and to be celebrated. But behind the smiles a row about the TV broadcasts was festering and it’s not going to go away…”
books and bookmen
With Bookworm: "When BBC director-general Tony Hall announced a raft of new arts programmes earlier this year, the ample section devoted to books seemed a convincing riposte to critics who say the Beeb (or its TV arm anyway) has no interest in them. On inspection, however, most of the delights were dramas sneakily filed under Books; and if one ignored two dust-gathering Melvyn Bragg documentaries made long ago and an overdue, token online commitment, all that was left was The Secret Life of Books…”
in the city
With Slicker: "Delisted mining group Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation may be gone from the London Stock Exchange – with few regrets from shareholders – but the bad memory still lingers. There is an ongoing corruption investigation by the Serious Farce Office (no charges as yet) and an unusual civil action against former non-executive director and City grandee Sir Paul Judge…”
Letter from Belgrade
From Our Own Correspondent: "
It’s interesting to note that our new prime minister Alexander Vu?i? is refusing to join in with European sanctions on Russia. This is raising hackles in Brussels, where Serbia is supposedly in the waiting room for EU membership. Vu?i? told the Russian news agency ITAR-TASS: ‘Serbia is on the European path but Serbia has not imposed and is not going to impose any sanctions against Russia.’ Which is to say: ‘We shall have our cake and we shall eat it...’ ”
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30th September 2014.
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Private Eye Issue 1375
private eye Only In The Magazine

‘Don’t Threaten Us’ Threatens Top SNP Man… Donald’s Troosers Found in Mid-Loathhim… Gnome Launches New EyeWatch Which Tells the Time… Reeva Steenkamp Found Guilty of Going to Toilet… The Knave of Hearts at Thirty: Nursery Times Exclusive… A Short History of the World’s Most Successful Union, by Ben MullofKintyre… Stanley Johnson’s Uproarious Anecdotes, as told to Craig Brown

And also...

- Desert Fix: How the UK covered up three decades of paying kickbacks in Saudi Arabia
- Offensive PR: Dirty work in the Congo for London-based Schillings and Bell Pottinger
- NHS in Scotland: M.D. on the real risks to Scotland’s (already devolved) health service
For all these stories you can buy the magazine or subscribe here and get delivery direct to your home every fortnight.
Next issue on sale: 30th September 2014.

Private Eye Issue 1374
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