WITH one of Oxford’s top jobs up for grabs speculation abounds on the identity of who will take up the role.

The role of manager of Oxford United has become available and Ian Hudspeth, the leader of Oxfordshire County Council and an avid U’s fan, has already confirmed to The Insider that he is not in the running for the position.

This set The Insider a-thinking about who else in Oxfordshire’s political establishment might take on the role.

City council leader Bob Price, springs to mind, but as a Welshman he is more of a rugby man and Arash Fatemian, county councillor with responsibility for finance, is an Oxford United fan and has experience of operating under financial pressure so he could be a candidate.

Maybe he could appoint city councillor Mark Lygo, executive board member for parks, sports and generally having a good time, as his assistant.

SO The Insider is pleased to learn that city councillor Mohammed Abbasi, has been appointed as Lord Mayor of Oxford for the next year.

Oxford Mail:

  • Mohammed Abbasi

The 72-year-old Labour councillor is joining a select group – currently occupied only by the formidable Olive Gibbs – of people who have been Lord Mayor twice.

When Mr Abbasi was last Lord Mayor – for only two months – he caused a minor diplomatic incident by attending the opening of the Free West Papua Campaign’s offices in Cowley Road.

The group wants independence from Indonesia whose foreign minister Marty Natalegawa asked the British ambassador to clarify whether Mr Abbasi’s presence meant his government was giving the campaign its backing.

Mr Abbasi, who later said he had no strong feelings about the issue one way or the other, now has a full year in the role. On past form we can only wait with excitement to find out what he’ll get up to.

CONGRATULATIONS to county council leader Ian Hudspeth, who completed his challenge of not drinking alcohol during January.

Oxford Mail:

  • Ian Hudspeth

Mr Hudspeth was taking part in Dry January after being challenged to do so by his authority’s public health department.

But speaking to one of The Insider’s colleagues this week he reported feeling no better or worse for it.

Though maybe he will enjoy the process of setting next year’s budget more now he can get on the beers.