THE Insider has learnt of its first quitter of the electoral season.

We understand Lib Dem city councillor Mark Mills, who represents Holywell, is throwing in the towel after the exotically-named Jean Vila began tweeting as the party’s candidate for that ward.

Mr Vila, a second year biology student at Wadham College, will pitting his wits against Labour’s Aled Jones who is a second year law student at Corpus Christi College.

The Insider understands that Holywell is a ward populated by large quantities of students but perhaps this tactic to attract votes goes a little too far – and is very transparent.

We are sure – in the spirit of deference to our better-educated superiors that characterises the current government – that both of these young men are extremely intelligent and will one day run a country but let’s hope their homework doesn’t keep them away from the campaign trail. Incidentally, one of The Insider’s colleagues contacted Mr Mills for comment but he didn’t respond.

HAVING spent the latter part of last year arguing with each other over cuts, county council leader Ian Hudspeth and local government secretary Eric Pickles appear to have kissed and made up.

Well, perhaps just made up.

Oxford Mail:

  • Ian Hudspeth

The happy couple – who, it must be said, could be confused for brothers – were seen wandering down Botley Road this week to look at some water but no hands were seen being held. Mr Pickles inspected the city’s flood defences and saw that it was good (no need for any extra funding then, he will have thought). The political peace seems to have been cemented by a rather bizarre photo opportunity of Mr Pickles and Mr Hudspeth holding an “I heart Oxford” jumper.

However from the pictures taken by one of The Insider’s colleagues, they seem to have bought a jumper one (or two) sizes too small.

SPEAKING of flooding, The Insider’s colleagues have been up and down Botley Road several times this week (and not just because Oxford Mail HQ is just round the corner).

Several trips have been made over the course of the week to the excitingly-named “Gold Command” – a temporary incident command unit which has been set up in the Toys ‘R’ Us car park of all places.

But the name Gold Command conjours up imagines of high tech devices and walls of screens broadcasting images of – water and puddles.

Unfortunately while the work of the fire service can only be praised, there was a sense of disappointment at discovering that Gold Command consists of a marquee and a van with a white board in it.

As long as it’s working I don’t think many people will complain...