COMMENT: Interesting times ahead for us and our politicians

9:00am Wednesday 2nd July 2014

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.

Heavy traffic on A34 after four-car crash

Oxford Mail: OM A34

4:01pm Sunday 4th October 2015

TRAFFIC is heavy on the A34 between the Wendlebury interchange and Pear Tree Roundabout after an earlier crash.

‘She could easily have gone into shock but was very calm’ say river rescuers

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Saturday 3rd October 2015

A YOUNG woman who fell in the river after a seizure on her way to work has thanked two boaters for saving her life.

E-fit released after man driving silver car sexually assaulted two children at newsagents in Harwell

Oxford Mail:

12:26pm Saturday 3rd October 2015

An e-fit has been released today of a man police want to speak to after two children were sexually assaulted in Harwell.

UPDATE: Woman taken to hospital after Eastern Bypass crash

Oxford Mail: OM stock ambulance

11:45am Saturday 3rd October 2015

A woman was taken to hospital after a car and lorry crashed on the Eastern Bypass.

We won a battle, but not the war, say Woodstock estate protesters

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Saturday 3rd October 2015

PROTESTERS against a development that would double the size of Woodstock have said the war is still on.

‘Hospitals must keep driving up standards’ says trust chief

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Saturday 3rd October 2015

OXFORDSHIRE’S hospitals must keep driving up standards despite being awarded a national vote of confidence by the health sector regulator.


© Copyright 2001-2015 Newsquest Media Group

Oxford Mail: site_logo

Click 2 Find Business Directory