Nigel Thornton: Did the dog eat your agenda papers?

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In classic shoot the messenger style your caring sharing PT came under fire for reporting that Peterborough city councillors failed to turn up for an important meeting.

In predictable and oh so boring fashion there were cries from some of political bias and lazy journalism.

On the first charge I’m not sure how that works as we pointed out that there were Labour, Liberal Democrat and Tory councillors among those who failed to attend.

Admittedly, we didn’t mention the MonsterRaving Loony Party nor the Judean People’s Front...

As for the second charge the words, pot, kettle, black, spring to mind. We get accused of being lazy for reporting that they didn’t turn up for a meeting. Irony alert!

To be fair we journalists can be lazy, like when we refer to councillors getting paid a salary when in fact they get a member’s allowance, which is in recognition of the time they give up to, er, attend meetings.

Cabinet member Cllr Nigel North defending his colleagues described the circumstances that led to the collective no-show as a “perfect storm’’.

And maybe itwas a perfect storm (in a teacup), but if you stand for public office then public scrutiny goes with the territory.

I’m sure some, and maybe all, of the councillors had good reasons for their absence, but in case any of them are struggling to explain themselves to voters I’ve compiled a list of top 10 excuses that according to t’internet have actually been used.

1. I’ve had a sleepless night

2. My hamster has died (only use this once with the same hamster)

3. I am hallucinating

4. My fish is sick

5. I’m in A&E as I got a clothes peg stuck on my tongue

6 I drank too much and fell asleep on someone’s floor - I don’t know where I am

7. I woke up in a good mood and didn’t want to ruin it.

8. I just put a casserole in the oven.

9. I was sitting in the toilet and my feet and legs fell asleep. When I stood up, I fell and broke my ankle.

10. I accidentally got on a plane.

Hope that helps.

Even plans for a warehouse would be an improvement for the ‘North Westgate’ area so I should be excited about the £100m plans involving a cinema, hotel and other leisure facilities. But we’ve been here before haven’t we. I think I’ll contain my excitement for now.

I was in Leeds last week on business. It was the first time I’d been back to the centre of my hometown for some time and my jaw dropped to see the scale of some of the spectacular developments underway. I’m not the only one to notice it. TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson was on a train journey north last month when he tweeted: “What’s happened to Leeds? It looks like New York.” Mind you the biggest shock during my visit was when I went to spend a penny at the railway station – only to be met with a demand for 40p.I turned on my heels and clung on for a more economical solution. You can take the boy out of Leeds...

Council leader Marco Cereste was in teasing mood in his PT column last week. He ended it with the words: “I’ll be making a big announcement next week about new investment in our city. Watch this space, it’s very exciting.’’

Come on Marco, we’re not children. If you’ve got something to say, say it (turns out it was North Westgate).

And he was at it earlier in his column when he mentioned how he’d met with a Government minister.

Marco said: “We used the meeting to talk about some of the issues that we are facing and how the government can better support us.’’

All very nice, but what was the response, Marco? Come to think of it what were the issues? How is the government going to support us? Or are they going to cut the cash to the city council even more laying waste to yet more services and facilities in the city?

Don’t watch this space.

Diary Of A Bad Dad

Iwent into HMV the other day to buy Toddler T a present. I don’t normally do this as, especially around this time of year with Christmas and her birthday just gone, we need a bigger house to fit in all her toys, books, clothes, crayons and games.

Actually, if I’m honest it was really a present for me – it was a Topsy & Tim DVD featuring eight episodes of her latest TV obsession.

No, my mind has not finally turned to mush, in fact by buying this DVD I’m trying to avoid that fate.

Toddler T stumbled on an episode of T&T and I foolishly recorded it for her. In one two-hour period we had to watch the perishing thing seven times. Seventh heaven it wasn’t. If I have to watch T& T’s dad mend their bloody roof one more time I fear my head might explode.

The next episode is not until Sunday so in a desperate effort to keep my sanity I decided to take direct action and buy a DVD so at least I can have a bit of variety. I’m particularly looking forward to the episode where T&T get rid of some old toys. “Are you watching, Toddler T?’’