Our new mayor bites back

Jon Barry.
Jon Barry.
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I seem to have generated some discussion over my potential mayoral travel arrangements.

The first point is that the debate is academic as I will only be mayor if I win my seat in Marsh Ward next May.

If I do win then all I have said is that I will be using my bicycle to go to mayoral engagements.

I have been a councillor for 16 years and have ridden my bike or walked to every single meeting I have attended.

It would be hypocritical of me as mayor to be ferried everywhere in a limousine with chauffeur.

And in today’s austerity climate this wouldn’t send a very good message to taxpayers about how their council is spending their money, though I would hope that the chauffeur could be redeployed and he would still be needed for beadle duties at some events.

If elected I will take the job of mayor very seriously – in the same way that I have always given full effort as a councillor.

I am quite happy to wear mayoral clobber and any chains or badges that can be found. The issue with the chain is that the insurance company will not allow it to travel, other than by limousine, for outside events.

Council officers are looking into whether a badge can be used (as worn by the deputy mayor) and into the cost of a replica chain.

I would hope that this could be easily funded by the reduction in my transport costs – and it would then be available for other mayors to use in later years.

What I am proposing is hardly revolutionary or even new. The London Mayor Boris Johnson is a regular cyclist.

I understand that even the Pope has given up his limousine.

Oxford Council has had a Lord Mayor dating back since 1122; they have a special mayoral bike and a hybrid electric vehicle for mayoral travel – and also a number of replica chains.

Coun Jon Barry

Willow Lane