NIGEL THORNTON: No questions, Prime Minister, means no answers

The Prime Minister has form for treating the regional press with a disdain bordering on contempt.

Thursday, 5th May 2016, 11:15 am
Updated Thursday, 5th May 2016, 11:37 am
Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton -

So when David Cameron rocked up to Perkins Engines for a setpiece Remain photo-opportunity we were not surprised when the word got through that we’d only be allowed one question.

We dispensed with any thought of asking “how was your journey Mr Prime Minister?’’.

We didn’t want to waste our precious question on polite small talk, after all.

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Prime Minister David Cameron makes a point during his visit to Perkins Engines.

Of course he did offer us a “first person piece’’ that we could run in the paper and on-line.

Some other newspapers when presented with a similar offer have declined.

We decided to accept it, he is the Prime Minister after all.

But let’s be clear this is not how the “free press’’ which Mr Cameron and so many other politicians and other powerful people pay lip service to, works.

Prime Minister David Cameron makes a point during his visit to Perkins Engines.

But back to our one question. What should it be. It generated quite a debate inthe newsroom.

All the usual suspects got a shout out – immigration, the economy, the NHS, but it soon degenerated into schoolboy humour.

“Ask him what he thinks about the fountains,’’ offered one senior journalist who shall remain name less.

But that, I’m afraid, opened the floodgates.

Who should be the next Posh boss?

Nando’s or Carluccio’s?

Stewart Jackson or Marco Cereste?

How much tax did you pay last month?

Was it more than Google?

Why don’t you go to Hunstanton for your holiday like the rest of us?

Is Stewart Jackson still on your Christmas card list?

Do you often get mistaken for kids’ TV character Iggle Piggle?

Should cyclists be allowed to bike down Bridge Street?

In the end we didn’t even get our one question.

To be fair to Mr Cameron he did ask for a question from the local paper.

Unfortunately the telly man from the BBC jumped in and nicked the question.I give him top marks for initiative although I’m not sure how Norwich qualifies as local or the BBC as a paper.

As Prime Minister Mr Cameron should be best placed to provide the answer to our problems. But without questions there can be no answers.

Toilet humour

Ken Livingstone allegedly took refuge in a disabled toilet to escape a pack of hacks chasing him after his latest controversial comments.

Take it from me, Ken, that’s never a very good idea.

I once hid in a disabled loo – McDonalds in Hull city centre – but I was trying to escape from the Hull Daily Mail football team’s annual pub crawl.

We started drinking at ridiculous o’clock and stopped off to have a burger to soak up the booze. I’d already had more than enough and hid in the disabled toilets in the hope they’d move on and let me slink off home.

Unfortunately, one of our number, Danny, who went on to be a top national sports writer until cancer cruelly cut short his life, rumbled me.

He was a larger than life character and I can still hear his booming voice through that door: “Thornton, I know you’re in there, and we’re not going until you come out.’’

Resistance was futile and I opened the door. Not surprisingly, the eyes of the restaurant were on me. As most of us know, when you’re, er, ‘in drink’ it’s quite hard to act like you’re not and my own version of a walk of shame was more like a stagger. I’ve never hid in a disabled toilet since!

Jamie beggars

I’m glad Leicester City won the Premier League as their victory brings a semblance of sporting credibility to a competition that was threatening to be decided purely on the size of an owner’s bank account. The fans who celebrated outside Jammy, sorry Jamie, Vardy’s home in Melton Mowbray are entitled to enjoy the moment. But they should (although I’m sure they won’t) spare a thought for fans of clubs who have been docked points for going into administration.

The points penalty was introduced after Leicester went into administration in 2002 after piling up huge debts including thousands of pounds owed to the East Midlands Ambulance Trust.

And what was Leicester’s punishment? That’s right they got away scot free. Like all fairy tales this one has got a dark side.

Diary Of A Bad Dad

As is embarrassingly apparent Toddler T runs rings round me on a daily basis. But I think it’s becoming too easy for her and, being her mother’s daughter, she wants a new challenge.

She may have bitten off more than she could chew because she’s starting to cross swords with Mrs T, which I know from bitter personal experience is not a wise move.

Toddler T is something of a chatterbox, but she’s not quite mastered the art of listening.

That’s a bit of an understatement andinterrupting seems to be her new bad habit.

Mrs T is having none of it, of course (‘if anyone’s going to interrupt in this house, it’s me.’).

So she tackled Toddler T telling her: “When grown- ups are talking don’t interrupt.

“Wait patiently until they have finished.’’

Toddler T considered this (for about a milli-second) and then shot back with a grin: “What if someone is hurting my brother and I need help to make them stop?’’

One-nil to Toddler T, I think, although I’m expecting Mrs T to come back strongly. I’m just going to keep my head down.