No, I kid you not. No one has said that in as many words, but I've had discouraging responses from one or two departments, which I do know admit people with credentials similar to those (albeit my intention is not to state that these are weak or insufficient) I mentioned in my last post.
I do think LSE is definitely better than Ox currently. If you look at the last 10 years then the lead of LSE over Oxford in publications in top journals has widened (albeit both have declined relative to American departments) and in the 1994-1998 and 1996-2000 series that I've seen, UCL is second to LSE in the UK.
Having said that, from the perspective of the potential doctoral student, some of OX's older faculty are very well known and so references and supervision from them would still count for something.
I do think that the RAE ratings are bizzarre. As is the Warwick cult- so many people I've spoken to recommend that looking at Warwick is worthwhile but seem dismissive of Oxford. I have to disagree. I think Oxford is better by any measure and certainly better known outside the UK. It might just be fashionable. But I don't think that LSE and UCL's high ratings are merely down to fashion...I do think they are very strong departments, but LSE more so.