Homeless need help not political point scoring

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

Anybody who spends any time in Peterborough city centre will not be suprised by the city council’s revelation there has been a big rise in the number of homeless people.

A stroll around Peterborough’s expensively revamped streets reveals an ever increasing collection of rough sleepers, beggars and buskers. They may not all be homeless and conversely not all homeless people end up sleeping or pleading for some cash in the city centre.

They might be holed up in the Travelodge.

Whoever they are and wherever they are it is a pretty desperate situation. And for a growing city in the fifth biggest economy in the world a pretty embarrassing one too.

The council dared to suggest government policy might have played a part in exacerbating this problem.

It got all those wannabe Sir Humphreys in Whitehall in a flap. he response was to rubbish the city council’s assertions claiming that homelessness was due to a number of circumstances (no **** Sherlock) but conveniently offered no explanation for what the council calls an “unprecedented spike’’.

Cages were well and truly rattled and a defensive government spokesman bragged how the government had poured £500 million into homelessness.

No, sorry, as MP Stewart Jackson pointed out in a Tweet on this subject, the government doesn’t have any money it’s the taxpayers.

So the government has thrown £500million of our money at the problem and there’s still been an “unprecedented spike’’.

Not something to crow about really is it?

Perhaps the government would do better to offer a real solution rather than to trot out faux outrage at the council’s points.

Still at least we can be comforted by the reaction of city council cabinet member Irene Walsh who, playing a straight bat for the Tory party, gives us the less than reassuring prediction that the problem will sort itself out in ‘years’.

I’m sure the people I see sleeping on the streets and even those in relative comfort in the Travelodge are delighted to know that.

To be fair to the council they are not sitting on their hands and have come up with an imaginative scheme which will see a private company buy up scores of properties to cope with this spike.

I say imaginative, barking mad might be a better description, as we learn that people have been evicted out of these homes to make way for the ‘homeless’.

I think Sir Humphrey would be impressed.

It seems the homeless have taken over the Travelodge... and the lunatics have taken over the asylum. Again.

Food of love

It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed the delights of Weldon’s fish and chip shop but the reasons are only down to geography. I was a regular several years ago when I lived in Thorney and I reckoned then they were the best in the area.

So I was pleased to see it had won the PT’s Chippy Of The Year competition.

Bizarrely, my first date with Mrs T was almost at Weldon’s (my plaice or yours?).

She said ‘no’!

Eastern promise

The Hungarian government has warned its citizens that Peterborough’s a no-go zone because the authorities have lost control because of uncontrolled migration.

It is well documented that the huge influx of migrants has caused problems in the city, but MP Stewart Jackson is right when he says the claim is silly.

It did make me chuckle when council leader John Holdich responded in indignant fashion.

He said: “It’s a great shame that people who have never visited Peterborough choose to talk us down.’’

Err, John, I don’t think we want to be encouraging more people into our already over-crowded city!

Diary Of A Bad Dad

Do you know Elmer the elephant? He’s a colourful patchwork pachyderm and the star of several charming children’s books. He’s also Toddlernator the Terrible’s favourite. It’s somehow apt that an elephant is his favourite character as every time he’s left alone in a room for a few minutes it ends up looking like a herd of elephants have been spooked.

T the T is not as verbose as his big sis was but he’s got several favourite phrases – most of which are quite firm instructions as in ‘sit down’, ‘wait a minute’ and the phrase I’m coming to dread ‘read Elmer’.

I love reading with him but I’m a grown man and after a hard day at work and two hours of Elmer the bloody elephant, I can feel my brain starting to drip out of my ears.

T the T is very polite and if you do as he asks he always says ‘fank ooo’. But if I attempt to put the elephant in the room away it’s met with an indignant cry of ‘no way’.