Football’s terrible own goal

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

The sex abuse scandal which is engulfing football including Peterborough United is truly sickening.

The monsters who use their position of trust to prey on the young and vulnerable are a stain on the human race.

Sadly, no amount of legislation, safeguarding or checks can ever rid of us of this plague – there will always be perverts and they will always find victims to abuse.

But what is emerging nationally that is almost equally as shocking – and with horrible echoes of the Jimmy Savile case – is that otherwise decent people and the police turned a blind eye to, or didn’t take seriously, these terrible crimes.

Full credit to current Posh owner Darragh MacAnthony who reacted promptly and decisively after it emerged that historical allegations had been made involving Peterborough United.

In pledging the club’s support for any investigation he said: “I will ensure our football club leads by example thoroughout this process with full transparency and honesty.’’

Perhaps even more telling was this comment from Mr MacAnthony: “As a father of three young children I am personally horrified by what is now coming to the forefront in the press.’’

What outrages me and what I am struggling to comprehend is how those who were around at the time of the abuse, who were probably fathers themselves, could stand by and say and do nothing.

Sadly they won’t be called to account for their (in)actions but they’ll have to live with it on their consciences.

Oh, hang on, they have been living with it on their consciences – and in all this time it’s never bothered them enough to do anything about it. Shame on them.

Heidi and seek

Congratulations to Heidi Allen who is the first mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

I know I’m jumping the gun a little but the MP for South Cambridgeshire has already got the thumbs up from Prime Minister Theresa May to do both roles “if elected’’.

And as Mrs Allen’s a Tory – given the county’s demographic and the state of the opposition both locally and nationally, it means blue will almost certainly be the colour of the new authority.

She’s from the south of the county and launched her campaign with an interview with the BBC in their (surprise, surprise) Cambridge studio .

Interestingly/worringly she spoke about the problems facing South Cambridgeshire.

To be fair she didn’t forget us in the north and mentioned “linking Peterborough’’ –whatever the heck that means.

My misgivings about devolution and fears that the city will be once more Cambridge’s poor relation are well documented and I’m trying really hard not to say I told you so, but...

And I’m trying really hard to give Mrs Allen a chance but then I read that not only has she said she would snog Ed Balls she’d also quite like to follow his steps onto Strictly Come Dancing.

And why not? Heidi “two jobs’’ Allen will no doubt have some spare time available to entertain the nation.

There is a glimmer of hope (although you might not agree) because like me Mrs Allen is from Yorkshire.

I’m sure she doesn’t mind me speaking as I find.

Spirit of the law?

Peterborough City Council’s shambolic handling of the Stef & Philips housing/homeless debacle at St Michael’s Gate shows no sign of improvement.

The PT made a Freedom Of Information request to the council and we got a load of crossed out emails.

Only one was sent by a councillor, but this too hadbeen redacted, including the identity of the councillor.

This, in case you’ve forgotten is not Stalinist Russia this is Britain, the mother of democracy.

The council explained why this e-mail was blacked out: “Correspondence that a councillor has sent in their capacity as a representative of residents of their ward does not form part of information held by a councillor in their role as a member of the council.”

Utter, utter tosh.

Let me get this right... a democratically elected councillor representing his/her constituents is not acting in his/her role as a councillor?

Are you sure about that?

Note to the city council it is called the Freedom Of Information Act not the Freedom To Release As Little Information As We Possibly Can To The People We Serve Act.

Diary Of A Bad Dad

It’s not been a good week. I woke up on Saturday morning in agony. My back had seized up and like the world’s 650th best golfer (Tiger Woods, fact fans) putting my socks on was a real challenge.

I had joined the 16.5 million Brits who suffer back pain although I bravely (two cheers for me) didn’t add to the 10 million sick days that it causes each year.

I hobbled in to Telegraph Towers and the boss knew something was wrong. I kept standing up and, when I told him why, he replied: “Oh, that’s a pity, for a moment I thought after 30 odd years you were finally showing some respect for your superiors.’’

Strangely, I feel lucky as I’ve got to 57 without so much as a twinge. Perhaps I’ve just reached that age when your back goes out more often than you do.

All of which is of no interest whatsoever to Toddlernator the Terrible who can’t understand why is own personal climbing frame/fairground ride has got a “Closed’’ sign hanging on it.

Still one good thing is that it’s an excuse to tell a Tommy Cooper joke.

A woman told her doctor: ‘I’ve got a bad back’. The doctor said: ‘It’s old age.’

The woman said: ‘I want a second opinion’. The doctor replied: ‘OK, you’re ugly as well.’