This England

A 40ft aluminium ladder, adorned with pink neon tubes, bolted to a listed church tower to form "a metaphorical stairway to heaven" should be removed, say councillors in Salisbury, Wiltshire. They branded the Arts Council "buffoons" for paying an artist £10,000 to erect the work, and say planning permission was not sought. "There is nothing remotely heavenly about it," said David Parker, council vice-chair. - Guardian (David Browning)

A Lord Mayor's chief of protocol has been suspended from his job over allegations of gross misconduct - including stamping around, slamming doors and sighing heavily. - Times (Nick Thomas)

According to Railtrack, leaves have been "bigger and juicier" this autumn . . . particularly in the Midlands, and yesterday Railtrack and the Central Trains company issued a joint apology to passengers. - Guardian (B A Jackson)

A £5 book token for every entry printed above. Entries on a postcard, please

This article first appeared in the 11 December 1998 issue of the New Statesman, Plato rules, OK?