Will the collapse of councils be the next great scandal?

Last month India managed to land a spacecraft on the moon for a third of the price of refurbishing Hammersmith Bridge. This startling fact captures both New Delhi’s efficiency and the staggering incompetence of our local councils. It took two years and £9 million (in real terms) to build the bridge. It is set to cost almost £200 million to spruce it up and the work may not be complete until 2030. Hammersmith Bridge has become the perfect metaphor for what’s gone wrong with government: the carelessness, inertia and lack of concern for public money that is rife across the country. The bill for doing up Croydon council’s headquarters was

The strange case of the ‘alleged bonfire’

The council has told me that what I saw was an ‘alleged bonfire’. When I described flames towering into the sky and black smoke curling over the village, that was an ‘alleged bonfire’. When the builder boyfriend was shutting the field gate and could see a bright blue explosion, what he was witnessing was the start of an ‘alleged bonfire’. We often meet at the horses after he finishes work, then we drive home in our separate cars. He let me out the gate first and stayed behind to lock it. After he rang me and told me what he could see on the horizon, I turned round and drove