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THE INSIDER: A weekly update from the corridors of power
10:00am Thursday 12th April 2012 in Columns
THAMES Valley Police announced last week it was drastically cutting the hours people can go to many police stations to save money.
The press release claimed these new hours (some stations will only open 10am to 2pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from July) were drawn up after analysis and “extensive consultation with staff, partner agencies and the general public”.
Given that the public will be most affected, the Insider was interested to see the follow-up story that the police consultation with the people in the street had avoided asking the question: Should we slash opening hours?
We have been conducting our own poll and of 1,252 votes cast (pretty much the same number as answered the police consultation), 79 per cent said they were opposed to a cut in hours.
The Insider was planning to drop the results round to his local police station to pass on the taxpayers’ thoughts. But he probably won’t bother – the doors are likely to be locked.
Just when you thought the trend for needlessly aggrandising job titles had died down, Oxford City Council pops up with a gem.
From a time when a security guard was a loss prevention officer and a binman was a waste management technician, comes the council’s latest job advert.
With a healthy salary of up to £17,802 the chance to call yourself a Streetscene Operative (Static Toilets) is up for grabs. The words in brackets perhaps give it away, but the chosen candidate will be required “to service all public conveniences, including opening, cleaning and maintenance”.
LOTS of ideas are spewing forth from the three candidates who have so far thrown their hats into the ring to be the new leader of Oxfordshire County Council.
Among them is the suggestion that the post of chief executive should be done away with, saving on the annual salary of £182,431.
It’s already been done in Wiltshire so is not such an outlandish idea, although the current incumbent of the post, Joanna Simons, may beg to differ.
THE Oxford don turned Tory politician, John Patten missed his big chance when he finally made it to the Cabinet. After working his way through numerous departments, the former Oxford West and Abingdon MP did not last long after becoming Education Secretary.
But the Insider suspects that Lord Patten’s glamorous wife, Louise, must feel she has also missed a big opportunity as the Titanic anniversary approaches. Lady Patten’s grandfather was one of the Titanic’s great heroes, Second Officer Charles Lightoller. From her grandmother, she tells us she learnt one of the Titanic’s great secrets. The collision with the iceberg was down to a catastrophic mistake with the helmsman turning the wrong way. It all came down to two different communication systems in operation.
But instead of writing the ultimate Secret of the Titanic book, she threw away the story in just seven pages at the end of her novel Good As Gold two years ago. Talk about missing the boat.