I hate flowers. With all their horrible shiny colours and revolting nice smells I really can’t stand the things. Back in February, my girlfriend looked disappointed that I didn’t surprise her with roses.

Sorry, I explained. I’m too consumed by bile and my part in the secret plot to rid the world of all things floral.  

This month, that long-standing conspiracy has finally been exposed. The whistleblower was Salisbury’s Conservative leader Eleanor Wills, who wrote a devastating opinion piece in the Daily Telegraph titled, ‘The flower-hating left wants to destroy Salisbury.’

Some more innocent readers might be surprised to learn that the left hates flowers – doesn’t the Labour Party have a rose as its symbol? – but it’s all part of a (until now) carefully concealed plan: first we take the hanging baskets, then it’s civilisation as we know it.

And we would have got away with it, too, if it wasn’t for that pesky councillor.

For those who read this column beyond Salisbury, I’m referring to the decision of the city council here to trial an alternative planting strategy, swapping hanging baskets for a mixture of living pillars and parklets – a decision which was gleefully misinterpreted by the flower-loving right as a city-wide ban on any plants daring to hang down rather than up.

The thinking behind the scheme is to give the city more environmentally friendly displays – better for biodiversity and requiring less water.

The council is not the first to consider this: Winchester and Brighton are among the cities to have cancelled hanging basket displays in the past because of drought concerns (Winchester’s baskets reportedly require 300,000 gallons of water a year). Living pillars, meanwhile, have appeared in places large (London) and small (Southend).

Their use in a medieval city, however, was a step too far for the bring-back hanging baskets brigade.

London, apparently, didn’t exist in medieval times. Neither, curiously, did hanging baskets. They blossomed in the 1870s, following the development of steel wire and galvanising.

The main floral displays in medieval Salisbury were nosegays, sweet smelling bouquets to mask the smell of the sewage running down the city’s system of open watercourses.

Raw sewage is making an unwanted comeback, thanks to the current Conservative generation failing to stop the water companies polluting our rivers and beaches.

That lack of concern about the environment is top-down – last month, Zac Goldsmith resigned because Rishi Sunak was ‘uninterested’. June’s Climate Change Committee report similarly damned the government for its lack of leadership and urgency.

The UK, meanwhile, has just had the warmest June on record. Just when our politicians should be focused on finding solutions, we have a load of hot air about hanging baskets instead.