THE Insider has been disappointed by the absence of Keith Mitchell – who The Insider column has engaged in the odd robust debate with – from the race to become MP for Banbury.

Mr Mitchell, who lives in the north of the county and was dubbed Kaiser Keith at the height of his reign at the head of the county council, says he has not put his name forward to replace his fellow Conservative Sir Tony Baldry.

He has contacted The Insider to say: “At 68 years old any attempt on my part to stand for a parliamentary seat would be treated by any political party with considerable humour but little else.”

Oxfordshire’s famous “lefties” can sleep easily in their beds but come on Keith, you’re only as young as you feel.

A SENIOR Oxford city councillor expressed an interesting view about engaging with the public this week. 

City councillor Scott Seamons, the executive board member for housing, told a scrutiny committee panel that he didn’t see the value in consulting with the public on the council’s new housing strategy. 

Oxford Mail:

  • Scott Seamons

He was of the opinion that the document would be so dense and unintelligible that people just wouldn’t engage with it. 

Now The Insider has plenty of experience of wading through council documents and knows what Mr Seamons means – but perhaps he should take a more confident view about the capacity of members of the public.

Or maybe, in that old fashion democracy outlook The Insider clings to, council officers should be politely asked to make it digestible for the folks who foot the bill for their wages.

COUNTY council leader Ian Hudspeth has friends in high places. Yesterday he met Sir Edward Lister, the Mayor of London’s chief of staff, to discuss improving transport links. 

And earlier this month he met Home Secretary Theresa May. 

If The Insider didn’t know any better we would think he was networking for when he takes over from retiring Banbury MP Sir Tony Baldry – you heard it here first.

COUNCIL officers have a lot on their plate with shrinking budgets – but some are making their lives a bit harder. 

One of Oxford City Council’s youth engagement officers had to leave a meeting of the Leys Community Partnership early – to go and play netball. 

This officer in question should be praised for her dedication to her work and her hobby – and being a council officer certainly means you have to fight your corner for increasingly small amounts of funding. Perhaps this is her way of getting rid of some pent-up aggression.