NIGEL THORNTON: Down but not out..yet

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

On holiday in Norfolk last week I found myself outnumbered – and not just by people with a funny accent.

Posted on the notice board in the village where we stayed was the parish result of the EU referendum. It was an overwhelming two-to-one in favour of Brexit.

And, yes, I admit it, I voted to Remain.

It was a difficult choice. I’m no lover of the EU – and the petty and vindictive comments that have followed the referendum from EU civil servants and politicians has only reinforced that view. But I voted to remain because I thought Brexit was too big a risk. Not so much for me, but for my children.

At that point I didn’t appreciate that the Leavers not only didn’t have a Plan B they hadn’t even got a Plan A (for the record “yah boo sucks, EU,’’ is not a plan).

It was a huge protest vote not so much against the EU as a concept but against politicians – both British and European.

The British people were fed up with uncontrolled immigration and they were fed up with being lied to about it. They were given a once in a lifetime chance to give the twos-up to politicians and they took it.

But what now, once the dust settles, and at the moment there’s still a Saharan sand storm swirling? We are left with a House Of Commons hugely in favour of Remain so how is that going to work? When it comes to principles, the only thing most politicians stand for is re-election – but I doubt many Remainers will be resigning.

So my best bet is that we will indeed be ‘out’ but the deal that will eventually be done will leave us feeling like we’re in.

The referendum has changed my view in one significant regard and that is the lowering of the voting age. The knowledge and understanding of the issues displayed by pupils at The Voyager, Nene Park Academy and Ormiston Bushfield Academy put me, for one, to shame.

Most of the youngsters who were featured in a PT article in the run-up to the big vote were eligible to vote (just) but I’m sure they didn’t suddenly become articulate, knowledgeable and passionate about politics the day they hit their 18th birthday.

There are other good things to come out of the vote – Boris being Borised and Farage departing (albeit it looks like it’ll take him longer to leave than it will the country as a whole).

But best of all is that Peterborough gardener Jim Hogg can proudly display the Siamese cucumber he has grown without fear of a small army of Eurocrats beating down his door to ban it!

Charlie’s true grit

It struck me as an odd accolade when recently retired city councillor Charlie Swift had a gritter named after him. A school perhaps or a community centre would surely have been more fitting for the man who was the longest serving councillor in the country. But then as many of his former constituents will tell you Charlie is the salt of the earth – so maybe a gritter is appropriate!

Time to Bale out

I like the Welsh.. no, really, I do. I spent 18 happy months of my childhood living in a tiny village near Cardiff called Creigiau – and for one season I was even a Cardiff City season ticket holder.

I even went to the same school as football superstar Gareth Bale – Whitchurch High – but, you knew there was a ‘but’ coming, their anti-Englishness led by a smug-looking Bale does them a disservice.

As a young English boy living in Wales I never experienced any prejudice or discrimination and I’m surprised by the antipathy on display.

The Welsh should just enjoy their own tremendous performances and leave us English to kick our own team while we’re down.

White line fever

Driving to work on Monday morning I was aghast when I saw all the lane markings had been removed on Queensgate roundabout presumably prior to resurfacing. I feared mayhem, but in fact lane discipline was the same as usual ie non-existent!

Diary Of A Bad Dad

It’s now just a matter of weeks before Toddler T –or Pre-schooler T as she is more accurately described –takes another huge step in her life.

Yes, it won’t be long before she starts school and embarks on a new stage in her life. Every time I think about it my heart momentarily stops – which is not a pleasant feeling for a man of my age.I keep telling myself it’s no big deal - after all everybody goes through it – but it doesn’t help.

I vaguely remember my first day at Waterloo Infants in Pudsey. I was more or less dumped at the gates of the school on the first day of term. These days it’s different (and better) and Preschooler T has already visited the school as part of an acclimatisation process.

I was once accused by a silly, sorry, I mean senior city councillor of being anti schools. Utter rubbish – I’m passionately pro-education, pro-schools and pro-good teachers.

I am fiercely anti meddling politicians, officious officials and bad teachers.

Mrs T and I have a good feeling about the school but even so we’re so nervous we’re in danger of falling apart like England in the second half against Iceland.

I’ve got a feeling on her first day of school it will be Pre-schooler T reassuring me.