However, to those who insist there must be a crony-based explanation why government, both national and local, favoured Carillion so much, here is a suggestion: the business was a model for what politicians now demand from such firms. It ticked every box of the corporate social responsibility agenda, and then some. In fact, its chairman, Philip Green (no, not that one) had been a “corporate responsibility adviser” to prime ministers David Cameron and Theresa May.
Go to the company’s website (now a sort of accidental memorial) and you will find the greatest prominence is accorded to its virtuousness, not its profits. There is page after page of its “sustainability strategy”, under the main slogan “Making tomorrow a better place”, subheaded “Better communities”, “Better environment (tackling climate change)” and “Better business”. Underneath that divine triptych, Carillion boasts that it can make “specific contributions to at least nine of the UN sustainable development goals”.