Peterborough’s Tory story over for now

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

My first contact with Stewart Jackson was when he rang me to complain about something I’d written.

That was well over a decade ago not long after he’d been chosen as the Tory prospective parliamentary candidate for the Peterborough seat.

He had taken exception to a reference I made to the “funny accent’’ of the then Tory leader William Hague.

What Stewart probably didn’t realise then was that both Mr Hague and I are from Yorkshire.

In any case I wasn’t bothered whether he liked it or not but it gave me early warning that Mr Jackson was not a man to take a backward step.

I’ve had a few run-ins with Stewart over the years, although nothing more than would you expect given our respective positions.

I have also enjoyed Stewart’s hospitality on a trip to Westminster when I interviewed him after the last election.

I think its fair to say that he’s never been impressed by my distrust of all politicians whatever their colours. I can understand that – as a journalist I don’t like people lumping me in with the people responsible for the Daily Mail’s pre-election coverage.

I didn’t agree with him on gay marriage, Brexit, the proposed changes to St Botolph’s Church in Longthorpe, or even Cllr Marco Cereste.

But I have always been impressed by how he always stood up for what he believed in and for Peterborough.

For journalists, Stewart always made good copy as indeed did his predecessor Labour’s Helen Clark, albeit in different ways. He’ll probably ring me to complain about the Clark comparison (and she probably will too!).

Stewart was gracious in defeat and gave a warm welcome to our new MP, Labour’s successful candidate Fiona Onasanya.

I don’t know much about her (does anybody?) but I wish her good luck.

Hopefully, in the coming weeks and months we’ll find out much more about her, and I hope she will be as passionate an advocate for Peterborough and Peterborians as Stewart was.

And hopefully, like Stewart, she will never duck a question or an issue.

If I have one bit of advice for Ms Onasanya it’s to change her Twitter ‘handle’.

I don’t think Fiflowertot gives out the right impression for an MP!

I wonder if she’ll ring me to complain?

Variety show

I’m no entrepreneur but I’ve had a great idea for one of those empty units on Bridge Street which could provide a little variety for the Peterborough shopper.

It’s a pizza restaurant where you can buy a mobile phone and use it to place a bet on how long your meal takes to arrive and what percentage battery life the person on the next table has left. Winners will be paid out not in cash but with a piece of jewellery.. and it’s all for charity. I’m going to call it Papa Fones U Bet Gold Aid.

Back to the 70s

I thought this election would be a boring procession but it turned out to be one of the most fascinating for ages.

Amazingly, Jeremy Corbyn put up a good fight despite the best efforts of the tabloids who warned us he would take us back to the 70s.

That swung it for me. I loved the 70s. In that decade I saw the mighty Leeds United become champions of England and win the FA Cup, I pogoed to the Clash and The Jam, had my first pint in The Peacock in Yeadon (‘‘sit in the corner, lads, and don’t make any fuss’’ said the friendly landlord) and I lost my... (That’s enough – Good Taste Ed.)

Crock-odile rock

Overheard in a discussion at Telegraph Towers about the Elton John concert. “Why were there chairs in the Abax?’’

“Er, for people to sit on!’’

“But it was a rock concert.’’

“I know, but a lot of people who went there needed them.’’

The name’s NVR

Big congratulations to Nene Valley Railway which celebrated its 40th anniversary recently. Manned entirely by a dedicated band of volunteers, NVR is one of the city’s best attractions.

I wish I’d known there were going to be Bond girls Carole Ashby and Alison Worth at the celebrations marking NVR’s links to several 007 films.

It would have made a change for me to drag my Thomas-loving youngest along rather than the other way round!

Diary Of A Bad Dad

As any parent will tell you one of the trickiest tasks you face is disciplining your children, particularly when they are toddlers.

Mrs T and I agreed that we would never smack our children.

This despite both of us being on the receiving end of several slaps when we were kids.For many years I was firmly in the “I got smacked, but it never did me any harm’’ camp.

But then I had children and immediately the thought of hitting a little person, no matter how lightly,just felt completely wrong.

Schoolgirl T never needed any disciplining and was a bit of a goody too shoes (if only she had slept occasionally!).

But little bro, Toddlernator the Terrible is living up to his name.

We have had to make use of a naughty step in a bid to tame his wild ways.

He’s always quick to say sorry and give his victim a hug but I’m not sure the naughty step at the bottom of the stairs is working.

The other day I found several of his trains there.

“Why are these here?’’ I asked Mrs T.

“You don’t want to know,’’ she replied, “he’s been sent there so many times recently, that he’s decided to, er, personalise it.’’

He needs a good smack (only joking!).