Nigel Thornton: No eastern promise for Peterborough

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 am already beginning to loathe the phrase “Eastern Powerhouse’’. No doubt whoever coined the phrase has not stopped patting him or herself on the back. “That’ll get the hicks in the sticks excited,’’ he or she probably mused.

But name aside, what does it mean for the people of Peterborough and for that matter the people of Ashbocking, Groton and Occold? The latter, in case you didn’t know - and why would you - are all villages in Suffolk whose future is now seemingly inextricably linked with ours.

Nobody knows – it’s a bit like what will life be like if we vote to leave the EU. I’ll hazard a guess that neither joining the EP nor leaving the EU will turn Peterborough into the land of milk and honey.

Still it will give the politicians something to bicker over and fill the time of legions of civil servants.

That’s if it happens, of course.

This week Cambridgeshire County Council came out against the plan which could scupper it before it starts. In contrast Peterborough City Council seems keen – perhaps the chief executives of the councils should get together and thrash out a joint approach.

Oh hang on – they share a chief executive in Gillian Beasley.

Good luck with that one, Gillian.

The government, which has spent a considerable part of its term of office slashing funding from local authorities is promising to provide an extra £1billion.

And talking of promises, city council leader John Holdich says if we sign up for this deal then the city will get a university.

It’s a long time since I studied Marlowe’s Dr Faustus for my A-Level English Literature but its starting to ring alarm bells.

As I understand it the Government has dangled the carrot of not blocking the long held aspiration of this city to have a fully fledged university.

Hang on a second, run that by me again... it’s agreed to not block a university for the city!

Why on earth would the government block one regardless of whether or not we sign up for this Eastern Powerhouse?

If that’s the case, the government is behaving at best like a playground bully and at worst like a cheap hoodlum.Not so much an eastern promise more a veiled threat.

See you later (1)

The survey measuring satisfaction of Peterborough patients with their doctor’s surgery makes interesting reading. I’m willing to wager a few bob that a deeper analysis would show a correlation between satisfaction and how quickly a patient gets an appointment. “The doctor will see you now’’ is what patients want to hear not “we don’t have any appointments until a week next Tuesday’’.

See you later (2)

The difficulty in getting to see a GP is part of the reason the accident and emergency department is under so much pressure.I have sympathy for people in those circumstances as whatever NHS managers say, self diagnosis is not that easy. That said anybody who goes to A&E with a paper cut needs (to paraphrase my old grandad) taking round the back of the building and given something they need A&E for.

Diary Of A Bad Dad

Remind me again, why we spend a fortune on toys for the kids? I asked Mrs T while trying not to conform to my regional stereotype and appear a tight Yorkshireman.

I had just witnessed my four-year-old princess and her 16-month-old brother (who I’ve nicknamed Dalek as his sole aim from the minute he gets up is to “ex-ter-min-ate’’ anything that gets in his path) play happily together for hours on end.

Had they found a new interactive, learning game on Toddler T’s tablet? No. Had they devised an imaginary world using Toddlernator’s expensively assembled farm? No.

Had they got their hands on a large cardboard box that a new car seat had arrived in? Yes.

The Toddlernator is particularly unimpressed by anything designed for his amusement, preferring crockery, cutlery, groceries, leaves, brushes, the vacuum cleaner.

In fact the only toy he’s interested in is the one his sister wants to play with.