The EU: In, out, shake it all about

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

I don’t know if I’m an inner or an outer or a shake-it-all-abouter but I’m getting increasingly stressed about the soon to come EU referendum.

More than any vote in my lifetime this is one I can’t afford to miss.I have rarely exercised my democratic right to vote but that’s more about my antipathy to politicians than apathy to politics.

You’ll have your own views on that – my dearly departed dad certainly did and he wasn’t impressed with me. But I will definitely be marking my X on June 23 because it is a decision that I think will have a profound effect on my children’s future.

The only problem is I haven’t a clue which way to vote.

If we had never been in the EU and I knew what I know now I think I would want to be out of Europe.

But now we’ve been in it for decades, I’m fearful of the consequences if we leave.

The problem is that for all the bluster and rhetoric from both sides nobody knows for sure what will happen if we come out.

It might be better, it might be worse, or we might not notice much difference.

The economy has been the main focus of the debate and its obviously hugely important. But I don’t think there has been enough discusssion about the issues of sovereignty and the type of society we want.

Immigration is a huge concern for many, not least here in Peterborough, where the uncontrolled quantity and quality of incomers has caused significant problems.

But in many ways I think that argument (although not the problem) is over and done with. Whether we like or not it’s not possible to return to the days before the latest period of mass immigration.

UKIP’s catchline “We want our country back’’ might strike a chord with middle England, but by the time my children are my age this society and their culture won’t be white English and what’s more they won’t give it a second thought.

I remain undecided, so I’m looking for a sign – maybe if the French police started protecting UK citizens I would have one.

Bent bananas

If we vote to leave, I’d miss all those ridiculous EU stories my fellow journos have claimed are true. Here’s my top 10

1. Bent bananas banned

2. Barmaids ordered to cover up their cleavage

3. The Queen’s favourite dog, Corgis, threatened by “a controversial EU convention”

4. Shopkeepers can’t sell eggs by the dozen – they have to be sold by weight

5. Condom dimensions to be harmonised across the Continent

6. “Fancy a plate of gadus morhua and chips?’’ Fish to be called by their Latin names so they can be understood throughout the EU

7. EU to ban rocking horses

8. Pigs must be given toys to keep them happy or farmers face up to three months in jail

9. Gardeners with Rhododendrons could be “criminalised”

10. The EU has a page on its official website busting euro-myths

Number 10 is true!

Diary Of A Bad Dad

Phew! Was I glad to get back to work on Monday. My weekend felt like I was trapped in a bad sitcom (no laughs and lots of over(re)acting. It was called “Useless Dad, Precocious Preschooler, Small Ninja Warrior & Poorly Mum InBed’’.

Okay, I need to think of a snappier name, but you get the drift. Mrs T was laid low by a vicious bug and I had to assume ‘lead’ parent role.

Toddler T, bless her, was well up for helping dad with mum out of action.Unfortunately for me her “help’’ mostly involved barking out orders along the lines of “you need to tidy up the lounge, daddy’’.

Lunch was, er, interesting. “I don’t want sausages.I had them yesterday and mummy says I shouldn’t have them too often, ’’ was Toddler T’s opening salvo and then it went downhill.

Meanwhile, her brother amused himself lobbing various vegetables around the kitchen. I swear he was aiming for my glass of wine (it was medicinal).

It was a losing battle but I finally waved the white flag when I told Toddler T she could eat her tea in the lounge.

“Just don’t tell mummy I let you,’’ I added conspiratorially.

“No, I have to tell mummy everything,’’ she replied with a grin.