OPINION - The Standard View: A reminder that rubbish collection is as vital to a city as transport and policing

 (David Simonds)
(David Simonds)

The Evening Standard takes out the trash. Barely hours after publishing our front page illustrating the festering piles of rubbish (and only hinting at the smell) in London’s East End, Tower Hamlets council reached a deal with striking refuse collectors.

Workers are now returning where for the next few weeks they will be joined by private waste contractors employed by the council to catch up on missed collections and street cleaning. And it has not come a moment too soon, with bags containing rotting food and discarded nappies lying in mounds up to six feet high on some roads.

Regular rubbish collection is as vital to a city’s function as public transport and policing, a reality residents are only reminded of when it comes to a grinding halt.

Trump in his element

The legal difficulties keep coming, yet it seems to make precious little difference. A judge has ruled that Donald Trump and his company fraudulently misrepresented his wealth for years while building the real estate empire that catapulted him to fame and, ultimately, the United States presidency.

Ahead of the trial scheduled to begin next week, Judge Arthur Engoron ruled that the former president fraudulently inflated his wealth by up to $3.6 billion (£3 billion) to get cheap loans. Assets whose values were inflated include Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, an apartment in Manhattan’s Trump Tower, and various golf courses. The judge called some of the price tags “a fantasy world, not the real world.” In a post on his Truth Social platform, Trump called accusations that he committed fraud “ridiculous and untrue”.

In any normal time, for a typical politician, this would be career-ending. Of course, we know better at this point. This is not even the only court case Trump is facing as he glides serenely toward his party’s nomination for president. According to one poll, he is favourite to retake power. Whether he ends up campaigning in traditional swing states or from his prison cell, Trump will be an ever-present factor in the year ahead. Just the way he likes it.

A timely signing

And so there could not be a more apposite time to announce this newspaper’s new star columnist, Michael Wolff. Fresh from the serialisation of his remarkable and explosive book The Fall: The End of the Murdoch Empire, Wolff will appear in these pages to cast his eye (and dig up a little dirt, no doubt) over the goings on in Washington DC and beyond. Not one to be missed.