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BACKCHAT - TOULMIN SMITH

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Party poopers...
Party poopers

If you're thinking of turning up at a cocktail evening in a swanky limo, perhaps you ought to think again. Or else consider that the police may be just a short distance behind you. As many as 6,000 limousines on our roads are taking things a stretch too far because they carry too many people. Councils have been tasked to set the wheels in motion, by working with police to do spot checks on limos that flout safety regulations. Smaller stag and hen parties will follow.

Taking the p***

I was puzzled to see a letter from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in which it suggested various model by-laws to councils. One of these would outlaw 'urinating etc', in public places. Just what does that

'etc' cover?

Purrfect feast

Officers grappling with the demands of providing more nutritious school dinners in the wake of Jamie Oliver's television programme should spare a thought for the municipal authorities of the Chinese village of Sanjiang.

They were called upon to provide a gala fish feast for 200 cats who had cleared local farms of a rat infestation.

The village, in the Guangdong province, spent around£860 to show their gratitude to the hard working moggies.

Will environmental health officers demand to be paid in fish for rodent control?

The minister for ogling

Poor David Miliband faced the ordeal of touring North America as part of his ongoing quest for improved city governance.

But his experience in Baltimore perhaps went some way to compensate for the lack of the comforts of home.

Writing in his ODPM blog, Mr Miliband states: 'The mayor left me stumped when he greeted me on the steps of City Hall and asked to introduce me to Miss Wyoming, Miss West Virginia, and Miss Wisconsin.'

The trio were on hand to

meet the minister for communities and local government as part of their training for the Miss America finals which take place in the city later this year.

Leading under the influence

Wags at a recent local government get-together were commenting upon the name of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives & Senior Managers' October conference, 'Leading by influence: managing in complex partnerships'.

It seems that within local government circles, the seminar has now been re-monikered 'Leading under the influence'. Solace is no doubt delighted - although the expectation of delegates may now be somewhat different as a result.

Of course, we know very well that no important decision would ever be made by chiefs or their officers while enjoying a quiet moment at the public hostelry. Should David Miliband consider plying

shire councils with alcohol to secure agreement on unitary councils?

Feathered but not friends

Chesterfield BC is going honking mad at the trouble its goose population is causing to its restoration work. After taking a gander at its£4.7m Queen's Park project, officers noticed the council's hard work is being undermined by hundreds of Canada geese which are leaving unpleasant piles of muck. So officers have embarked on a range of measures to ensure the birds take flight. Local ducks have branded a 'no-feeding' rule as quackers.

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