Sunday, December 17, 2006

Brazen self-publicist in the LibDems shock

And it's not an MP I'm talking about. No, I see that my ward colleague, Stephen Tall, has entered into the festive spirit by sticking up his own poll on his blog. I'm not sure quite when he latched on to the idea of pulchritudinous LibDems -- while reading the Executive papers for Oxford City Council, perhaps? -- but it's an intriguing send-off to a year with more than its fair share of salacious headlines proving we are the party for partying. And I'm not yet clear what psephological insight he is attempting to gain from it, unless it is counting how many times his adoring readers complain he is too modest to list himself. But it sure enough ensures that he ends 2006 on a high of blog-hits: is he trying for some sort of po-mo Christmas no. 1?

Personally, I can't bring myself to vote. After all, it's not by STV. But you've got the link just in case you haven't seen it already (and how likely is that?).

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I'm cheap at half the price

Or, this could be titled: the time the journo missed a trick. Our local roving political commentator, Giles Sheldrick, can whiff a good story a mile off and, with the national news about MPs' expenses, he must have thought it was a smart move to dig out last year's councillor allowances for the City and County. It was headline news in the local paper.

My own allowance will be higher this municipal year than last, as I'm now Deputy Leader and as the independent remuneration panel decided allowances were too low. Good value or not? I'll leave that to the people of Headington to decide.

One thing I will say is that I use my allowance to cover travel expenses -- but not so some others. And here's what Giles missed: allowance, being set independently, are not really under the control of councillors. But there are other columns listed in the official records -- 'carers' and 'travel / subsistence.' That is more in the remit of individual councillors to decide how much they claim -- and there's a huge difference between the nought pounds some have claimed and the £10,000 (yes, all those zeros should be there) at the other end of the scale. Now, there's a story.