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Private Eye discussion

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backontrack

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Apologies if this has been repeated ad nauseam (!), but I feel that, in these times of sadness and despair, we should look at one of our brightest, funniest, wittiest, cleverest and most treasured institutions: the Private Eye.

I personally love the Private Eye, although the publication's apparent anti-Corbyn sentiments can be more than a little frustrating. One feature that I particularly like is 'From The Message Boards' - a brilliant parody of online forums such as DigitalSpy. But what do you guys think?
 
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Phil.

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Always enjoyed it. Insightful and clever as well as on the ball when it comes to current affairs.
 

61653 HTAFC

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I love Private Eye, and generally buy every issue... though many of the articles raise a chuckle in the "gallows humour" sense. That's possibly the main reason Satire fails to lead to genuine change 99.9% of the time.
 

deltic

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An avid reader and unlike most printed publications seems to growing in sales - the latest cover price increase was the first in years and an annual subscription is remarkably cheap - just over a £1 a copy which barely covers the cost of first class post these days
 

Bald Rick

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It's a great read. Apart from Dr B Ching's contributions, which I find tiresome as they are very carefully worded and spun.
 

Flamingo

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It's a great read. Apart from Dr B Ching's contributions, which I find tiresome as they are very carefully worded and spun.
Having been unfortunate enough to have had personal knowledge of a few stories featured in Eye (not just Rail oriented, I hasten to add), I would agree with this. They have not looked closely enough at the motives of the person feeding them the story (to be charitable)...
 

DaleCooper

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Having been unfortunate enough to have had personal knowledge of a few stories featured in Eye (not just Rail oriented, I hasten to add), I would agree with this. They have not looked closely enough at the motives of the person feeding them the story (to be charitable)...

Private Eye is no different from other any journalism in that respect; you have to approach it with a critical, even cynical, eye. The important thing is not to fall into the twin traps of believing everything that fits in with your own view of the world and doubting everything that doesn't.
 

Arglwydd Golau

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Yes, I have the remarkably cheap subscription, and also particularly enjoy 'From the message boards' (all British life is there!) and 'The Cameron Free School'. However, the exposures of the corrupt nature of some of our press, local government and business world can be very disturbing.
 

LateThanNever

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Yes, I have the remarkably cheap subscription, and also particularly enjoy 'From the message boards' (all British life is there!) and 'The Cameron Free School'. However, the exposures of the corrupt nature of some of our press, local government and business world can be very disturbing.

I agree. Whilst the jokes are funny the exposures are very depressing and I find the jokes are usually not sufficient compensation.
 

GatwickDepress

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The MMR vaccine stories they ran were misleading and dangerous, and the "investigation" and subsequent apology was backhanded.

I do enjoy Private Eye but take everything with a grain of salt.

Nice to see Hastings Borough Council frequently in the Rotten Boroughs section though.
 

Calthrop

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Yes, I have the remarkably cheap subscription, and also particularly enjoy 'From the message boards' (all British life is there!) and 'The Cameron Free School'. However, the exposures of the corrupt nature of some of our press, local government and business world can be very disturbing.

Though not a super-keen follower of current affairs, for many years I frequently bought “Private Eye”: while, frankly, much of the content went over my head, I enjoyed a lot of the absurd humour, and the cutting-down-to-size of various pompous / narcissistic folk. Approved of the exposing of corruption in sundry places, while not finding such revelations immensely depressing – such misconduct being IMO, unfortunately a permanent part of the human condition. In recent times, though, I’ve seemed aware of an increased degree of sheer nastiness in the magazine: both a knee-jerk tendency, in my perception not there before, to “rubbish” and pour contempt upon more or less anything and everything – and a perceived attitude of overall despair and rancour, uncomfortably resembling that of the spite- and hate-purveying tabloid newspapers which the “Eye” regularly pillories. Having come to take little pleasure any more from the magazine, I’ve ceased to read it.
 

Busaholic

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Well, no wonder I have to pay £1.80 per issue, it's to subsidise you subscribers! Never had a sub, never had a letter published (tried 3 or 4 times), often only read a page or four but I ALWAYS buy it, and have been doing so since the mid 1960s. Apart from two or three campaigns against individuals that seemed to be motivated by personal animosity they have been remarkable despite our ludicrous libel laws: without them, I'd never have known (only suspected) the lifetime criminality of Robert Maxwell, the venality of 'Jams' Goldsmith, father of Zac and the founder of the Referendum Party, and the shenanigans in Northern Ireland including such things as the Belfast children's home scandal which they first featured forty years ago and is even now resonating.
 

DaveNewcastle

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It's a great read. Apart from Dr B Ching's contributions, which I find tiresome as they are very carefully worded and spun.
. . . . They have not looked closely enough at the motives of the person feeding them the story (to be charitable)...
Oh, I agree completely, but I feel inclined to see that failing as a symptom of all deadline-driven print media. But while we still have to read the Eye with a degree of doubt, we can usually be sure that the stories being reported would probably not have been reported at all, or reported with critical counter-views, by the mainstream. When it comes to some of the Eye's sustained campaigns, we can expect a higher standard of research, and in my view, they have achieved insights which no other publication would have published: e.g. failings in inquiry into the Lockerbie air disaster, the long-term corruption by the UK and bribery by Saudi Arabi over decades of arms sales, authorised by the MoD, persistent exposure of the mainstram press' illicit investigative behaviour, arguably leading to the Levison Inquiry (phone tapping and denials thereof continuing to this day), unjustified shootings of suspects by the Metropolitan Police, the extent of undercover Police infiltration into subversive groups formed almost entirely of other undercover agencts, etc. etc.).

I would agree that the Eye is deeply flawed. But so too are the institutions and authorities which it exposes. We have to be content with the Eye's abilities to raise questions which no other publication would raise - without any expectation of a definitive answer.
 

Flamingo

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Oh, I agree that viewed as a whole it makes a very valuable contribution to journalism, offering a platform for the unpleasant truths to be aired, and the importance of this should not be underestimated.

But just because they are not following the establishment agenda does not mean the writers (if not the magazine as a whole) do not have their own agenda. They can be as guilty of ignoring inconvenient truths as the mainstream press.

I'm not a regular subscriber, but I do read and enjoy the odd issue. (I still miss Punch, however!)
 

Requeststop

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I get my editions about ten days late these days as it's sent from Belgium and not Sweden as it was recently. Never felt the need to withdraw my subscription and contributed to the Goldenballs fund. Love things like Dame Silvie Krin, Commentatorballs, Street of Shame, HP Sauce, Signal Failures etc. and their spoof Miles Kington "Lets Speak Franglais" is brilliant. The Cartoons are always good and a great social commentary.

Vive Le Private Œil!
 

Busaholic

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It's a common fallacy that PE has oodles of staff, all educated at public schools and that they all have private incomes and can thus afford to adopt lofty positions. It has maybe been true that a handful of people over the years have conformed to that stereotype, but in the main stories are brought to them by frustrated journalists whose own papers will not carry the stories for reasons such as libel law, the personal positions of newspaper proprietors and editors, or that their readers will be uninterested in the stories (in the case of some papers, that their readers wouldn't be intelligent enough to appreciate them). Particular areas where PE has excelled over the years are miscarriages of justice (although Paul Foot got it badly wrong over Hanratty), local government and police corruption and vandalism of fine architecture by greedy developers/councils. Sixth form and Further Education colleges came under the spotlight for a few years, a process that now extends to the Academy Schools racket.
 

DaleCooper

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I've just found some old Private Eye books that I'd forgotten about. They are the "Colemanballs" collections, is that still a feature?

A few random examples:

My left foot is not one of my best - Sammy McIlroy

Well I'm hoping we can fight again, or at least have a re-match - John Conteh

You can cut the tension with a cricket stump - Murray Walker
 

backontrack

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I've just found some old Private Eye books that I'd forgotten about. They are the "Colemanballs" collections, is that still a feature?

A few random examples:

My left foot is not one of my best - Sammy McIlroy

Well I'm hoping we can fight again, or at least have a re-match - John Conteh

You can cut the tension with a cricket stump - Murray Walker

It is - though now called Commentatorballs.

From the cricket: 'Can Willey get De Kock out?' :lol:
 

backontrack

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There was the famous (from Brian Johnston I think) "The bowler's Holding, the batsman's Willey.".

Indeed! :D

Jonathan Agnew: "He just didn't quite get his leg over"
Fred Trueman: "Anyone foolish enough to predict the outcome of this match is a fool"
Trevor Bailey: "On the first day, Logie decided to chance his arm and it came off"
Brian Johnston: "You've come over to Leicester at a very appropriate time, where Ray Illingworth has just relieved himself from the Pavilion End"
 
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Bald Rick

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I have submitted a few Commentatorballs over the years, but none published.

Most recently Jonathan Overend commentating on Man U v Chelsea this season:

"In a normal season this would be a top of the table clash, or at the very least, two thirds of the top four"
 
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