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ONE MAY forgive Peter Brooke for indulging in 'a mild exercise of patronage' in refurbishing his office. After all, he is the Secretary of State, and there is only one of him ('Ministry of fun shows its polish', 30 May). Less well-known, and quite inexcusable, is the growing tendency of minor local government officials to furnish their offices in comparable style; and the electorate unknowingly foots the bill.

D Barton, Alton, Hampshire