Peterborough City council should invest in a naughty step

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

‘Pay Peterborough City Councillors more’ was a call I made in this column a few months back.

Not surprisingly it wasn’t my most popular idea, although council leader Cllr John Holdich jumped on it even reading part of it out at a council meeting to justify members voting themselves a whopping great pay rise.

I was misinterpreted – you will have your own view whether that was deliberate or not.

The point I was making was that being a councillor was an important and time consuming role which needed the best possible calibre of person and therefore the pay (they call it an allowance) should be upped to make sure we didn’t get left with the village idiot.

It most definitely was not a call for the current lot to dig their trotters deeper into the public trough. Last week’s events at the full council meeting at the Town Hall proved my point.

Some of the current councillors are embarrassing the city.

Sadly, Peterborough has something of a history of this behaviour.

The term Pottyborough was coined by Daily Mail columnist and former city resident Richard Littlejohn over the antics of the council.

And in 1999, former council chief executive Bill Samuel took the unprecedented step of writing a farewell letter to all 57 councillors in which he told them their behaviour was dragging Peterborough down.

Nearly 20 years on and the same is true.

Pathetic squabbling, petty point scoring and rudeness has become the norm.

Last week we had one councillor claiming an opponet had made the middle finger gesture towards him.

The alleged gesturer said he would apologise if his opponent would apologise for shouting at him!

I think the council chamber needs a naughty step... and a big one at that.

All the shenanigans contributed to the meeting running out of time.

As a result important items were not subject to a proper debate and were just voted on. One of those was that councillors should automatically get a pay rise if recommended by an independent panel.

Convenient, eh?