Yesterday I mentioned that Labour now run 17 of the 32 London boroughs – but I'm afraid it's really 18 as they have a minority administration in Merton. They have 28 councillors to the 27 for the Conservatives. The Merton Park Independents put Labour into power. Labour gained one of the seats from the Conservatives – in Abbey Ward. Labour have taken this as a mandate for wheelie bins. They are going to spend £4 million providing them over the next four years. They will be "optional." But it won't be optional for those who don't want to look at them. Nor will it be optional for those who don't want the extra noise involved in emptying them, compared to throwing black sacks into refuse trucks. It probably won't be optional at all for long.

I was on holiday in West Wittering a few days over half term and I was struck by the effort put into the front gardens in one street we walked along on the way to the beach. But I was also struck by how these efforts in pursuit of beauty were mocked by the requirement (from Conservative controlled Chichester District Council) for wheelie bins to be plonked alongside.

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