Oxfordshire County Council meets tomorrow for its Annual Meeting. I shall be a long way away and not overly worried about matters except for a little lingering interest and some real pride in meetings that follow the main County Council.
In the morning, given the support of some Independents, it seems that the Conservative Group will be able to continue as an administration and I assume there will be a Conservative Chairman of the Council.
When it comes to the appointment of an Administration, I have a little list of my best guess as to who will be appointed to the Cabinet. I am pretty certain they will all be Conservatives and I am hopeful that a talented lady who was unceremoniously dumped last year will find her way back into favour this year. I also suspect another female councillor may secure the portfolio of her dreams and, if I am right, I will be interested to see how she arranges her toys. As for the rest, I wish them well in challenging times!
I am sure Lady Brighouse will be preening herself like a peacock and will seek to dominate proceedings. There is always a fine balance between achieving a commanding rhetorical position and blowing it and I would not lay money on the outcome tomorrow! I really am glad I will be a long way away!
Turning to the celebrations, they occur after the lunch break. First, the council will appoint some new Honorary Aldermen.
First in the list is Charles Shouler and I can think of no-one more deserving. Charles was a Cherwell District Councillor before he joined the county council in 1989. In Cherwell, he was responsible for the development of Bodicote House, the council’s headquarters and he served as Leader of the Council. Charles also served in many capacities on the county council, notably as Conservative Group Leader when David Walden stood down and until Charles stood down in my favour. Charles was a farmer for many years and he brought all the skills of a businessman as well as a shrewd politician to his role as a councillor. Charles is respected in and beyond local government for his many skills and personal qualities and I am sorry he did not receive national recognition for his considerable contribution to local government and his community. I hope his appointment as an Honorary Alderman will be some recompense for the failure of the national Honours system to recognise his talents and I welcome it greatly.
I am also delighted to see that the county council is awarding the Freedom of the County to 4624 Squadron of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, RAF Brize Norton. This is an excellent recognition of the military within our county and I am personally delighted because I was the Military Champion for the county council.