NIGEL THORNTON: Meningitis – A jab in the ribs for MPs

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 always thought the e-petitions set up on Parliament’s website were a gimmick. Just a bit of window dressing to con us plebs (the governed) into thinking that the ruling elites were (ho, ho) working for us.

I still do.

But for the first time I have signed one and that’s for the Meningitis B vaccine to be given to all children.

I’m not alone – more than 750,000 people have signed it making it the biggest petition in parliamentary history.

Forget Brexit and Boris, this will be the biggest challenge to David Cameron’s leadership and future as the Prime Minister. He simply cannot ignore it and the unnamed senior Tory who the Daily Mail report said that policy shouldn’t be made by petitions needs to think again – 750,000 signatures is not a petition it’s an unstoppable force.

Sorry I got carried away there – of course it won’t be Mr Cameron’s downfall.

Politicians (of all parties) will not allow something like this to be an election issue. It would set us on a rocky road whereby politicians are servants not rulers. They won’t allow that to happen.

This terrible disease could be virtually eradicated and hundreds of young lives saved if the jab was made available to all children.

The reason, you won’t be surprised to hear, is cost. At £70 a go, it’s not cheap, and has been deemed not to be “cost effective.’’

Although if the Government tightened up its tax rules and stopped making deals with big business, we might be able to afford it.

As the dad of a 15-month-old and a four-year-old I have a vested interest.

I’m ashamed to say that until the recent spate of publicity, the issue had not come across my radar.

Once it had, I decided to pay privately for my children to have the jabs.

That would have cost me £400 (good to know somebody’s making a fat profit) but supplies of the vaccine have run out.

Spending £400 to stop the small chance of my children getting this disease is not cost effective with my household budget.

But at least I’d sleep easier at nights.

Marco’s message

I for one miss former Peterborough City Council leader Marco Cereste. Admittedly, it’s for selfish reasons –he always was good copy ( do you remember those solar powered water taxis with a retractable roof!).

Others don’t share my enthusiasm and news of his bid to be selected as a Tory candidate in the upcoming council elections was not greeted by widespread whooping and hollering of joy.His old sparring partner (and that’s putting it mildly) MP Stewart Jackson restrained himself from dancing on Marco’s political grave limiting himself to the observation: “My view is that I think Marco should accept the verdict of the voters of Stanground and turn a new page and try to move on.’’

Mr Jackson, of course, was defeated when he first tried to get elected as Peterborough’s MP in 2001. As he stood again (successfully) not accepting the verdict of the voters of Peterborough turned out well for him.

I feel Ferry old

It takes a lot to smack my gob but I was well and truly gobsmacked by the reaction of younger members of the PT’s editorial team to the news that rock legend Bryan Ferry was to headline a concert at Burghley House.

“Bryan who?’’ was the reaction.

Note I said younger, not young – I’m not talking teenagers here – yet there was not even a flicker of recognition.

I bet they don’t know how to cut a rug either.

Kick them out

Normally if Chelsea so much as win a toss it upsets me, so when I was hoping they would hammer Man City in the cup it was breaking new ground for me.

Just a few days after Posh showed the magic of the FA Cup was alive and kicking with a magnificent failure against a top flight side, Man City showed it was dead and buried by their disrespectful team selection.

This is a club which has clearly forgotten where they were before becoming a rich man’s plaything. They clearly have no interest in the FA Cup so they shouldn’t be bothered if they are banned from playing in it next year.

It’s not Grim

Sacha Baron Cohen’s new film Grimsby may do for that fishing town what his previous film Borat did for Kazakhstan ie not very much. Poor old Grimsby has always had a bad rep, but when I lived in Hull we were grateful to our Humberside neighbours for making us look good.

Diary Of A Bad Dad

Toddler T enjoyed her last day of Three-dom when she celebrated her birthday last week.

Now school is just a few months away and my little princess is getting less little (though not less princessy) by the day.

Opening her presents, not for the first time, I wished I had shares in Disney. Toy, after game after item of clothing unwrapped to reveal the familiar Frozen branding (Let It Go – Ed.).

“I hope this is the beginning of the end of her Frozen fascination,’’ I said to Mrs T.

“It’s not even the end of the beginning,’’ was the depressing response.

I shouldn’t have expected anything else from a fully grown woman who dressed up as Anna for Toddler T’s party.

The only frozen thing I welcome at Thornton Towers is a packet of Captain Bird’s Eye Peas. Some hope.

Frozen (the film, the brand, the world domination) does get on my nerves a little not least because I am always getting ticked off by Toddler T as I can never tell the difference between Elsa and Anna.

“So what,’’ I tell her, “I can’t tell Ant and Dec or Mel and Sue apart either.’’

She just looks at me with pity. I suspect the older she gets it’s a look she’s going to get close to wearing out.