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4 October 2023

This England: Gargoyle wars

This column – which, though named after a line in Shakespeare’s “Richard II”, refers to the whole of Britain – has run in the NS since 1934.

By New Statesman

A builder has put a giant stone gargoyle on his roof after a bitter planning row turned ugly. Michael Thomas was reportedly furious when his proposal to convert an old pizza takeaway into a three-storey, seven-bedroom, house in multiple occupation (HMO), was rejected.

The Trowbridge town council leader, Stewart Palmen, objected to the project. Thomas, 71, has now seemingly taken his revenge by erecting a stone gargoyle of Cllr Palmen on his roof.

The effigy – sporting half-moon spectacles and sticking his tongue out – adorns the side of the disputed property in the Wiltshire town. Cllr Palmen, 61, says he was “flattered” by the gargoyle.
Bristol Post
(Richard Fearn)

Pet politics

Larry the cat “doesn’t get on” with Rishi Sunak’s dog, his wife, Akshata Murty, has revealed in her first interview. The chief mouser to the Cabinet Office has had some “heated exchanges” with the family’s Labrador, Nova, who has had “mixed emotions” about living at 10 Downing Street. “Larry’s come out on top,” the businesswoman said.
The Independent
(Steve Morley)

Wheelie no worry

A man in Devizes, Wiltshire, was left red-faced when an innocent prank appeared to get out of hand, sparking a large police presence.

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A worried resident informed the police they had seen body parts hanging out of their neighbour’s wheelie bin.

Officers inspected the body parts – a hand and two feet – and confirmed them to be fake.
Devon Live
(Daragh Brady)

[See also: Britain has never faced decline like this before]

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This article appears in the 04 Oct 2023 issue of the New Statesman, Labour in Power