IT TURNS out the resignation of county councillor Arash Fatemian from the cabinet has caused a bit of a stink in Oxfordshire County Council’s Labour group.

Until last week Mr Fatemian held the position of cabinet member for finance but he stood down to concentrate on his family and career.

Oxford Mail:

  • Arash Fatemian

However, in his resignation letter, the Conservative councillor for Deddington made a comment about the official opposition that Labour leader Liz Brighouse said may be libellous. Fortunately, due to the legal protection that comes with Labour councillor John Christie’s utterances during the full council meeting this week, The Insider is free to repeat that Mr Fatemian accused the group of “low moral standards”.

Oxford Mail:

  • Liz Brighouse

Mr Christie said this was “unacceptable”, while Mrs Brighouse demanded an apology. Which was not forthcoming. Local politics is obviously back from its summer hols with a bang.


SPEAKING of summer, the county council seems to have spent the last couple of months replacing the sound system in its historic council chamber.

The previous system was known for not working, leaving selected councillors having to shout or use a hand-held microphone.

It seems that the new system is still a work in progress however, because during this week’s meeting of the full council an officer had to walk around the chamber during the meeting moving councillors’ phones away from their new microphones to prevent them from interfering with each other.

Nothing like a bit of new technology to bring the democratic process to a juddering halt.


TRANSPORT minister Baroness Kramer engaged in some mild stereotyping when she visited Oxford’s famous car factory this week.

The Cowley car plant, which is now run by the German company BMW, was marking the construction of three million Minis since the car was relaunched in 2001.

Oxford Mail:

  • Baroness Kramer

Greeted by a round of applause, the three millionth Mini – complete with Union Flag paint job – was unveiled by the minister on Tuesday. But she took the opportunity to raise the profile of a competitor car, claiming that the plant’s German bosses would probably be more used to driving around in Volkswagen Beetles. The Insider is sure that bosses at rival VW will be grateful. BMW’s views were not recorded, luckily for her.


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