A proposal that’s a threat to Peterborough people

Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk

Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk

When I asked Mrs T “will you marry me?’’ that was a proposal.

When she hesitated and I said “if you don’t, you can put your own bins out’’ that wasa threat.

It’s a distinction that Peterborough police need to grasp fairly rapidly or risk losing the trust of city residents after their handling of 84-year-old businesswoman Eve Taylor’s problem with travellers.

As exclusively revealed by Stephen Briggs in the Peterborough Telegraph and followed up by other media, Mrs Taylor turned to the police after travellers parked up at her business in Bretton.

They then demanded £1,200 to leave, warning Mrs Taylor it would cost her more to evict them via the courts.

In desperation, Mrs Taylor called the police who told her the travellers’ words amounted to a proposal not a threat!

Who took the call at Thorpe Wood?

Vito Corleone?

And, of course, police were helpless as they rolled out that old cop out “it’s a civil matter’’.

Mrs Taylor then contacted this newspaper and surprise, surprise, the police returned and this time moved the travellers on.

Although how they did this remains unclear as it was a civil matter.

If the PT and MP Stewart Jackson hadn’t got involved Mrs Taylor would still be going through a costly legal process to get her unwanted guests off her land.

The suspicion might be that some poor frontline grunt simply made a poor decision which was rectified when more senior officers got involved.

There might be some truth in this but it wouldn’t have happened if the police’s default position – which is set by senior officers – is to not get involved with any traveller issue.

It would be interesting to see what would happen if travellers plonked caravans in the car park at Thorpe Wood police station.

I have a feeling the police might have a proposal for them.

Losing control

In the latest in a long line of pointless surveys it’s been revealed that the average East Anglian “finds’’ themselves at the age of 31. Finding yourself translates as “feeling comfortable in your own skin.’’

Sadly by the age of 58 we start to lose ourselves, says the survey. I’m 58 in a few months’ time, but I’m not worried. Even if I do get lost I know where to find myself – I’ll either be by the wine rack or sat in front of the telly watching sport.

Taxing times

The unwanted combined Cambridgeshire and Peterborough authority foisted on us by Tory city councillors will reveal plenty of nasty surprises I predict. Already it’s emerged the new mayor will be able to add to our council tax bill (up five per cent this year). City council leader John Holdich says there are no plans for the new authority to levy tax adding: “I’m absolutely certain at this point in time we will not be voting for that unless there is something special the public wants.’’

I think the phrase “at this point’’ is what’s known as wriggle room.

Road to ruin

Plans to upgrade the A47 between the A1 and Sutton are as welcome as they are overdue. It is a horrible, dangerous piece of road, added to which it was also in a disgraceful state until recent repairs.

It’s a road I have the misfortune to use regularly and the standard of driving along it is atrocious. I will gladly put up with delays and congestion during the roadworks because the end result will be worth it.

Diary Of A Bad Dad

Mother’s Day used to be a relatively simple operation for me – a phone call to Interflora and a box of chocolates (“no sir, I don’t care what your name is you can’t have a discount!’’).

You see I only had one mother to look out for now I’ve got three.

Not really, of course, but I do have to buy cards and gifts for Mrs T on behalf of my kids,so it feels like it.

I did suggest to the oldest that if I gave her a tenner she could hop on a bus to Queensgate and sort it out herself, but she threatened to tell her mum and that would not only have spoilt the surprise but would have also landed me with a thick ear.

I’m not great at gifts – there was the time Mrs T was complaining about needing a new iron. Perfect I thought, but I was shocked at her ingratitude. She really spoiled that Valentine’s Day for me.

So flowers and chocolates it is... although surely I can get a discount for buying in bulk.