Private Eye has always been an inspiration for Crikey and we reckon its
the best magazine in the world. Here are three items from the lastest
edition, which are classic Private Eye.

PRIVATE EYE ON HAROLD EVANS

Sealed January 13

We just loved this item on Murdoch’s former editor of The Times in the latest Private Eye:

“How galling for Harold Evans. After all these years he gets a
knighthood at last, but since he became an American citizen in 1999 he
cannot use the title and is obliged to remain plain Dame Harold.

Evans is of course one of Tony Blair’s loudest cheerleaders in New
York.  In the mid-1990s he wrote to scores of wealthy British
expats in the US urging them to donate to “new” Labour, and hosted a
series of fund-raising events.  Such was Harry’s devotion to the
Dear Leader that before one breakfast beano, held at the Royalton hotel
in Manhattan, Dame Harold pompously warned special guest John Prescott
“not to say anything that might be construed as a criticism of Mr
Blair.”

On Blair’s first visit to the US as prime minister, Harry threw a
lavish party in his honour attended by Lauren Bacall, Barbara Walters
and, er, Henry Kissinger.  However, since the citation insists
that Harry’s honorary knighthood is for “services to journalism”, we
must assume that all this “new” Labour brown-nosing has nothing to do
with it.”

PRIVATE EYE AND THOSE DANGEROUS X-MAS PARTIES
Sealed January 14

Another great story from the scurrilous scribes at Private Eye in their latest edition:

“Wrestling-mad reporter Neil Chandler joins the Sun this week after
abruptly announcing his departure from the Daily Star news desk. 
The Welsh roly-poly grapple fan’s decision to leave may not be
unrelated to an incident at Richard “Dirty” Desmond’s pre-Christmas
bash in they City.

The free champagne had been flowing for some time when dishevelled
Chandler found himself in the mightly chairman’s presence along with
showbiz hack Nigel Pauley and an unknown woman.  Not one to mix
with such riff-raff, Desmond soon exited tao keep his eye on the bar
tab, leaving the three others together.

“Thank God that c*nt’s gone,” slurred Chandler.  To which Nigel Pauley replied: “Neil, may I introduce you to Mrs Desmond?”

PRIVATE EYE ON PATRICIA HEWITT
Sealed January 15

When Australians think of Patricia Hewitt, Britain’s Secretary of State
for Trade and Industry and Minister for Women, it is probably as the
daughter of distinguished Canberra public servant mandarin and former
Qantas chief Sir Lennox Hewitt.

But thanks to Private Eye, Britain now knows another side of the MP for Leicester West:

“MPs were as keen as ever last year to support Britain’s cultural and
sporting events.  As the register of members’ interests shows,
there were dozens of generous sponsors on hand to make sure none of our
impoverished public servants had to reach into their own pocket to
enjoy the fun.

Patricia Hewitt was the freebie queen.  As trade and industry
secretary, she makes regular (if unconvincing) noises about the need,
post-Enron, to rein in the accountancy profession; and she would have
had plenty of opportunity to air her worries with KPMG chief lobbyist
Neil Sherlock when he took her and her hubby to the all important, er,
Chelsea Flower Show gala preview in May.”

Then there was the AOL Time Warner chief lobbyist Carolyn Dailey who
took Hewitt’s son and daughter to see the premier of ‘Matrix Reloaded’
in May.

Nor the subject of mobile phone safety and licensing, and the spread of
mobile masts, when Steve Bartholomew of mobile phone carrier O2 who
took Hewitt’s son and two mates to the FA cup final.

In June BP boss Lord Browne invited Hewitt and husband to Glyndebourne.

In July, Jaguar took Hewitt, her son and another lucky chum to the British Grand Prix.

And Boeing (which is lobbying Hewitt to back its multi-billion dollar
tanker PFI scheme for the RAF) forked out for Ian Thomas of Boeing UK
to accompany Hewitt and her daughter to the Wimbledon ladies tennis
finals.

An appropriate invitation given that Hewitt, in her capacity as
Minister for Women has called on Wimbledon to pay women players the
same as men.

The Guardian website has a great list of members of parliament linked
to lists of their freebies (Register of Members’ Interests) they have
received here.

You can check out Private Eye’s website, but for most of the best stuff you need to subscribe for the hard copy.

Peter Fray

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