A proposal to merge three London boroughs – Westminster, Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington & Chelsea – in order to yield significant cost savings has been greeted by trade unions with opposition, on the grounds that some jobs would be lost. Shock, horror! Where on earth did they think the savings were going to come from?

If there were any sense in that objection to such a merger, one obvious course of action would be to split Hammersmith from Fulham and Kensington from Chelsea in order to create new, unnecessary jobs. Indeed one could split Westminster up into at least half a dozen “mini-boroughs”.

It reminds me of a (possibly apocryphal) story about Kaganovitch, a chum of Stalin’s. Apparently one day in the 1930s he was on a tour of inspection and saw a gang of workers clearing snow with shovels. He asked why they weren’t using machinery and was told that by using shovels they could employ more men. To which he is supposed to have said: “In that case, why not get the men to use teaspoons?”