COMMENT: Interesting times ahead for us and our politicians

COMMENT: Interesting times ahead for us and our politicians

COMMENT: Interesting times ahead for us and our politicians

First published in News
Last updated

THEY are two words guaranteed to send shivers down the spines of most county politicians: Unitary status.

The mere mention of them is enough to provoke a defensive reaction not seen since the French built the Maginot Line.

That didn’t help the French much. Nor will ducking the unitary debate do anything to stop it now that county council leader Ian Hudspeth has let the cat out of the bag.

He hasn’t said as much, but Hudspeth may envisage a countywide unitary authority sweeping away the five districts, bringing savings galore and a greatly streamlined system of local government.

It would also outflank the last bastion of the left in the county, Oxford City Council, at a stroke by absorbing it into a Greater Oxfordshire. There will be many in Oxford choking on their breaksfasts over that one this morning.

Canny city leader Bob Price is well aware of that and has already set out his own vision of a unitary Oxford.

It is not impossible that both the city and county could become unitary authorities, which would leave the other districts as cannon fodder in what could be a long and bloody political battle.

Leaders such as Barry Norton in West Oxfordshire and Matthew Barber in Vale of White Horse may well be stockpiling food and filling sandbags today in readiness.

But forget the vicious infighting that is imminent. Ultimately, any decision must be based on what is right for the council taxpayers, from the point of view of value for money and quality of service.

Things may get rough but, like it or not, this is a debate we simply must have.

Let battle commence.

  • Our top stories:

Man fell into cellar window after leaving pub

Oxford Mail: Oxfordshire County Council county hall

12:00am Thursday 18th September 2014

A MAN who was “heavily intoxicated” died after falling into a cellar window, an inquest heard yesterday.

Kidlington blaze death inquest

Oxford Mail: Oxfordshire County Council county hall

6:40am Thursday 18th September 2014

A man killed in a house fire probably died from smoke inhalation, a coroner said yesterday.

Banbury man honoured for fire bravery

Oxford Mail: oxfordshire fire and rescue logo

6:40am Thursday 18th September 2014

A MAN from near Banbury who rescued a neighbour from a fire is among life-savers who will be honoured for their bravery by Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service tonight.

Barrister reads pop song lyric in Oxford drugs trial

Oxford Mail: Oxford Crown Court

6:40am Thursday 18th September 2014

A BARRISTER read the lyrics to the Shaggy hit It Wasn’t Me during his closing speech in a £1.3m drugs conspiracy trial.

Schizophrenic who stabbed mother in Oxford is killed by blood clot

Oxford Mail:

6:30am Thursday 18th September 2014

A PARANOID schizophrenic who stabbed her mum to death was killed by a blood clot while being treated in a psychiatric unit.

Mum-of-two from Oxfordshire leads fight against Ebola

Oxford Mail:

5:43pm Wednesday 17th September 2014

A mum-of-two from Oxfordshire has become the first person in the world to be injected with an Ebola gene as part of a city-led battle against the deadly virus.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree