Nigel Thornton: On the offensive

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Stewart Jackson shoots from the lip. It is one of his strengths... and one of his weaknesses.

A motormouth or a man of conviction – it depends on your viewpoint.

He says what he thinks and doesn’t appear to care if people don’t like it.

And plenty of people didn’t like what he had to say about gay marriage.

Parliament approved it despite Mr Jackson’s (and others) opposition, but the wounds remain for some.

This week, Mr Jackson found himself at the centre of a social media storm after he responded to constituent and married gay person Laura O’Sullivan after she received some of his election literature.

To paraphrase their exchange she said she wouldn’t vote for him until hell freezes over and he replied yah boo sucks.

Mr Jackson has his supporters –he has twice been elected to represent this city as its MP for starters, but his critics have been quick to jump on his words (in case you weren’t aware there is an election going on).

For the record, I don’t agree with Mr Jackson’s stance on gay marriage. I also think Mr Jackson’s response was not appropriate for someone who has served as the city’s MP and who hopes to again. It would have been better if he had turned the other cheek.

And I don’t think he should block constituents as has been claimed on social media unless they are abusive. However he has broken no rules, let alone laws, so he is entitled to respond how he likes. But by pouncing on the tone of his response his critics look pretty petty. He must be thinking: “is that all you’ve got?’’

If anyone makes a decision on how to vote on May 7 based on the language of this sorry little episode, whether it be for or against Mr Jackson, they will probably get the MP and the politics they deserve.

Now did someone mention the economy, living standards, immigration, the NHS, zero-hours contracts, education, crime and punishment, food banks...?

In case you missed it, I’d like to share my favourite paragraph published in the Peterborough Telegraph this year and quite possibly this millennium.

The story was about a Freedom Of Information request to Cambridgeshire police about the number of children who have been reported for committing crimes.

This was the last paragraph of last week’s story:

The FOI also stated a six-year-old had been reported for murder last year – however a police spokesman said this was not the case and had only appeared in the statistics because of an anomaly in the way it was recorded. He said the incident did not take place in 2014, was not a murder, and did not involve a child.

That, my friends, is one hell of an anomaly.

Shane Currie, if you were being kind, could be described as a bit of a nuisance.

Currie (44), of Garton End Road, appeared in Peterborough Magistrates’ Court accused of a string of shoplifting offences.

The court heard that Currie had 181 previous convictions.

The judge spared Currie a jail sentence but warned him: “This is very much your last chance.’’

I wonder if when Currie’s life of crime began he was told: “This is your 182nd to last chance.’’

I have a beard. Beards are quite fashionable at the moment (despite mine) and now scientists reckon they know why.

The answer, according to The University of Western Australia researchers, is because men are attempting to look aggressive by being more flamboyant with their whiskers. It’s a sign of dominance intended to be attractive to the opposite sex.

Speaking as someone who is not even dominant in his own sock drawer, I can reveal this is utter tosh.

I grew a beard because it means I don’t have to drag a sharp bit of metal over my face first thing every morning.

What on earth is going on with the, to give it, its full snappy title the Greater Peterborough University Technical College?

£12million of public money has been poured into the project which has now been delayed by 12 months leaving 40 would-be students with their plans for the future in tatters. Despite repeated attempts by the PT we have been unable to find out from the college or the Department for Education the reason for the delay? Once again public bodies think it’s okay to spend our money but not okay to tell us what’s happening and why. I suggest, after the election, whoever is Peterborough’s MP, their first job should be getting their constituents some answers.

Inflation is zero per cent and council tax has been frozen in Peterborough. But we now have to pay for our brown bins to be emptied and parking charges are going up.. I could go on. The result isI’m paying more to the council but not through council tax. I think they think I’m a bit thick.

Diary Of A Bad Dad

What’s electricity, daddy? was the perfectly reasonable question posed by Toddler T.

I should have answered without hesitation: “Well, sweetheart it is a form of energy resulting from the existence of charged particles (such as electrons or protons), either statically as an accumulation of charge or dynamically as a current.’’

That would have shut her and her perishing inquiring mind up.

But instead I failed.Epically.

“Er, well it’s...er, it makes the lights work,’’ I stumbled and bumbled pathetically.

Not surprisingly, she was far from satisfied with that answer.

“What’s electricity?’’ she asked again politely.

“Er,’’ I began making no better fist of it on my second chance, “it,er, it makes things work.’’

She looked unconvinced. I tried again. “You know when daddy puts petrol in his car, well it’s like that. Only it’s invisible.’’

I thought the last line was genius. She’ll buy anything if you tell her it’s invisible from lions to chocolate bolognaise (don’t ask!).

But she scented blood. “Mummy will know,’’ she taunted.

Petulantly I retorted: ‘‘I doubt it. She doesn’t know anything about magic.’’