IF I were a voter in the Witney Parliamentary constituency, I would be asking a few questions. I’m not – but I’ll ask ‘em all the same.

How could David Cameron say he would stay on as MP in one breath and, with the next, throw in the towel? Surely he was already aware of the difficulties he might face as a backbencher.

How can the man who guided through the five-year fixed parliament legislation bale out on the faithful who voted for him 15 months earlier? They had returned him to Westminster as their MP, not as the nation’s Prime Minister. He could have used the rest of the present parliament spending more time on constituency matters that his PM duties surely forced him to restrict.

Finally how can someone who led a Government obsessed with austerity justify public spending on an unnecessary by-election?

THE young mum – she couldn’t have been much more than 20 – was wiping away tears. Courtesy demanded I should offer help.

“It’s Aaron’s first day at school,” she said, absently stirring her coffee outside the Clarendon Centre café. “I’ve been dreading the day. Now I’m counting the minutes to collecting him and giving him a hug. I feel awful.”

Soothing words failed miserably. By chance I saw her again at the same café on Tuesday morning, a week later. She was with another mother whose child had also started school.

“How’s Aaron?” I asked.

“He’s a pain in the bum,” she said while showing me the lad pictured in his smart new uniform. “Everything I ask him to do starts an argument. ‘Teacher Miss’ is the only person who seems to know anything.”

It was pointless telling her she was not alone.

A COOLING drink at the Turf Tavern in St Helen’s Passage seemed in order, but an ice cream stall in Radcliffe Square brought a temporary change of plan.

Armed with a cone surmounted by the mango-flavoured delicacy (one scoop) I headed for a shaded corner below the Bridge of Sighs. It also offered somewhere free from the eyes of all who criticise those who eat in the street.

But it did not give sanctuary.

“Can you move to other side of street, please?” asked a polite Chinese visitor. “I taking picture of lovely bridge.”

“How long will you be eating that ice cream? We’re going to take group photos,” said a Scottish father who was depositing his ‘fresher’ daughter.

Everyone including bearded seafaring uncles from Aberdeen and elegant maiden aunts from Edinburgh seemed to be present.

There was nothing left but to slope down St Helen’s Passage and the comfort of a welcoming pint...