The Spectator

Barometer | 4 May 2017

Also in Barometer: the state of Emmanuel Macron’s marriage and the many wonderful ways local councils spend your money

Spend, spend, spend

London mayor Sadiq Khan ended support for the Garden Bridge, probably killing it off. How are other public projects going?

— Manchester City Council spent
£3.5 million blocking a right of way with a glass pod and iron gates likened to Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’.

— Birmingham City Council proposes to spend £10 million on a water feature and new lights in Centenary Square.

— Trafford Council spent £16,000 on a stone in Altrincham bearing the words ‘market’ and ‘1290’.

— Since 2005, Belfast City Council has spent £104,650 on portraits of its lord mayors.

Gap years

Emmanuel Macron’s wife is 24 years older than him. How unusual is this?

— In 2001, 4 per cent of UK couples had husbands more than 15 years older and 4 per cent had wives over eight years older.

The US has more detailed figures

Husband 20 or more years older 1.0%
Husband 15-19 years older 1.6%
Husband 10-15 years older 4.8%
Husband 6-9 years older 11.6%
Age-gap five years or less 76.7%
Wife 6-9 years older 2.7%
Wife 10-14 years older 1.0%
Wife 15-19 years older 0.3%
Wife 20 or more years older 0.3%

Source: US Current Population Survey

Crime watch

East Devon District Council made it an offence to feed seagulls under a Public Spaces Protection Order. Other new or proposed crimes under such orders:

— Under-16s gathering in groups of three or more (Bassetlaw)

— Sitting in a shop doorway on more than one occasion (Tendring)

— Busking for over an hour (Hammersmith)

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— Sleeping in public in the dark (Wrexham)

— Walking more than four dogs at a time (Gosport)

— Allowing your sheep to enter the village of Bream (Forest of Dean)

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