Thornton on Thursday: Here today, gong tomorrow

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

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I always start the new year in a state of self-righteous indignation and it’s always caused by the New Year’sHonours List.

The sight of the ruling elite patting themselves on their collective back is almost worst than turkey sandwiches for the seventh day running.

Of course, they throw in the odd road sweeper or nurse in the list to try to pretend the honours are open to all. They’re not.

There are people who are honoured and deservedly so – wonderful volunteers in our community, people who show outstanding courage or achievement– but the vast majority of honours go to the undeserving. Arise, and burn in hell, Sir Jimmy Savile for starters.

That horrid man is an extreme example, but each year there are hundreds and hundreds of people who get an honour for just doing their (usually, very well paid) job.

Take the chief executive of a chamber of commerce who got a gong for services to business and commerce.

What on earth else would they be doing with a job like that other than a service to business and commerce?

I’ve picked on that one, but every year there are hundreds of similar cases to chose from. For all I know, maybe this person has done something amazing not covered by the bare details of the award and if so I apologise,but you get my drift.

Then there are the celebrities and sports people. Bobby Moore and Eric Morecambe deserve to be honoured, but Gary Barlow and Teddy Sheringham? I think not.

Peterborough once again was woefully underrepresented in the honours, but given what they are handed out for I’d say that’s a good thing.

Giving the undeserving an honour cheapens them for those who are truly deserving.

And before you ask, if in the highly unlikely event that I was put forward for a honour (services to cynicism), I would turn it down...in a self-righteous indignant sort of way!

Get a move on

There was quite a lot of fuss from commenters on our peterboroughtoday website over the city council’s plans to reduce the speed limit on a section of Bourges Boulevard to 30 mph. I don’t know why, as I can’t remember the last time I touched the heady heights of 20mph on that stretch!

Having a giraffe

The picture on the right of a giraffe and its calf at Chester zoo undeniably has the ahhh factor. However, it makes my blood boil, or to be more precise the story that went with it does.Most journalists of a certain age have pet hates about abuse of the language (we gloss over our own crimes as being creative) and one of mine is referring to animals as babies. I once went into meltdown at Telegraph Towers when a reporter wrote about baby dogs. “They are not (expletives deleted) baby dogs they are (expletives deleted) puppies,’’ I gently pointed out.

Vorsprung durch..

I don’t know what all the fuss is about after the Tories used a picture of a German road in their ‘road to recovery’ election poster. After all the German economy is the strongest in Europe. So when chancellor George Osborne insists it’s a “British road’’ that’s good. .. isn’t it?

Same old story

I don’t make new year resolutions but I’d like to make some for other people, specifically the top bods at organisations such as councils, the emergency services, hospitals and schools.

They should resolve when caught with their metaphorical pants down to not use the phrase “lessons have been learned’’ or, even worse, claim “we were already aware of the problem and have taken steps to rectify it’’.

They should also resolve to say sorry, accept it is unacceptable, explain how it happened and then detail what they are doing (or have already done, ho,ho, ho) to try to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Droning on

I predict 2015 will be the year of the domestic drone (and I don’t mean Mrs T). It will be the must-have gadget, but it’ll lead to accidents, crimes and invasions of privacy. Good news for journalists then!

Spin doctors

The City Hospital is once more creaking at the seams with the A&E department struggling to cope. The (spin) doctors tell us a big part of the problem is people using the hospital when they should be seeing a GP.

So why don’t they employ GPs to work at the hospital?