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.

Army will apologise to paratrooper after bullying claim at RAF Brize Norton upheld

Oxford Mail:

4:11pm Wednesday 1st October 2014

THE Army has said it will apologise to a paratrooper who lost three limbs in Afghanistan after his complaint of bullying was upheld.

Witney job centre cordoned off after suspicious package scare

Oxford Mail:

11:38am Wednesday 1st October 2014

A job centre was cordoned off after reports of a suspicious package.

Two road closures next week on A34 and in Oxford

Oxford Mail: Traffic Alert general

10:52am Wednesday 1st October 2014

PARTS of the A34 and Walton Street will be closed next week as roadworks are carried out.

Thames Water under fire from residents who say they’ve been left in the dark

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Wednesday 1st October 2014

ANGRY residents flooded out of their homes say they are being left in the dark by Thames Water a week after disaster struck.

One lane of Botley Road shut for emergency work

Oxford Mail: Burst water main closes Lower Hall Lane in Chingford

9:00am Wednesday 1st October 2014

THAMES Water started emergency roadworks in Botley Road last night.

WATCH: Right royal occasion as RAF hands on helicopters + video

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Wednesday 1st October 2014

PRINCE Andrew joined RAF personnel and Royal Navy staff as they paraded at RAF Benson yesterday to mark one of the base’s helicopter squadrons being officially disbanded.

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