Nigel Thornton: Voting rights and wrongs

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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Tis the season for polls – and I don’t just mean the big one on May 7.

Before that there is opinion poll after opinion poll to digest. And rather than just keep to the simple “who are you going to vote for’’ the pollsters are getting creative.

I’ve not yet seen the results of a poll on which party leader the Great British public thinks has the best trousers but I fear it’s coming.

Respected pollsters YouGov have come up with research that says if your name is Nigel (and mine is!) then you are twice as likely to vote for UKIP as the general population.

All I can say is they didn’t ask me.

And if they had have done it wouldn’t have proved anything as I have only voted once in my life - way back when I was an 18-year-old and thought I could change the world.

Since then either the policies or the personalities or a combination of both have meant I have not exercised my democratic right since then.

I am not proud of it. Nor am I ashamed of it.

My dear old dad was not impressed with my decision not to mark my spot with an X and was baffled that someone could have so many strong opinions yet not vote.

But this time I’m going to break the habits of (almost )a lifetime and I’m definitely going to vote in next month’s elections.

And it’s not because Yorkshire First has put up a candidate in Peterborough in a bid to annex the city for the broad acres .

Yes, Yorkshire First is a real party. After all, as they point out, Yorkshire has a population bigger than Scotland and an economy twice the size of Wales.

I also know who I’ll vote for although that will remain between me and the ballot box.

Judging by some of the reaction I get to this column the Tories think I’m Labour and Labour think I’m Tory. I don’t know what the Lib Dems, UKIP and the Greens think I am, but they’ve not been round my house with any membership forms.

In truth I’m a “don’t know’’.

I don’t know why successive governments haven’t sorted out the NHS, education or immigration. I don’t know why they haven’t sorted out the economy, crime and punishment, tax avoiders and benefit abusers? The list is endless.

But that’s how I’ve felt for decades so why vote now? Is there an inspirational politician with policies that can get me out of my seat and punching the air?Cameron, Miliband, Clegg, Farage, Bennett...mmm.... perhaps not.

The reason is simple I’m a dad now and I’ve got to be able to look my children in the eye.

So I’m going to be voting for who I think will create the best future for them... and, sorry, YouGov, but my christian name has no bearing on that.

Good luck to Cllr Nick Arculus who has taken up a new job in the Falklands Islands.

As he is one of my, er, local councillors I would have liked to have known a bit earlier that he was 8,000 miles away just in case I had, for example, a problem with my brown bin.

I’m a great believer in people keeping fit and the latest craze is called Bowka and there are classes in Peterborough.

I discovered that “Bowka participants draw letters and numbers with their feet while performing an energizing and addictive cardio workout routine.’’

I thought I’d try it out but after K/ N/ A/ C/K /E... I was too tired to go on.

A Peterborough angler has had his expensive gear nicked by some thieving toerags. Let’s hope the police catch them.

I’m grateful for the “15 hours of free child care a week’’ I get from the Government. However it is not 15 hours. You only get it for 38 weeks a year so it equates to roughly 11 hours a week. I’m still grateful but why can’t politicians just be honest?

The Peterborough Telegraph’s Page 3 girl this week is a fine advert for centenarians everywhere. 100-year-0ld Win Vine from Northborough still enjoys a tipple. With a name like that, she should!

Diary Of A Bad Dad

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to play tea parties with Toddler T.

But c’mon I’m a grown-up for goodness sake, so I’m not sure how many times I can gather round her blanket and eat pretend cakes and sip imaginary chocolate tea (whatever that is) with Parge, Ginge, Monkey, Big Ted and the rest of her furry gang.

It’s enough to make me watch another episode of Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom on the telly (how many did they make?).

I need some adult entertainment (no, not that kind). So imagine my delight when I got home one day last week. The sun was shining, family Thornton were in the back garden and Toddler T had a new toy – a pair of water pistols. Now you’re talking, I thought. It’s not a train set, but it’ll do. I was just about to take aim when Mrs T butted in: “I’ve told Toddler T she can’t spray anybody with them.’’

“What?’’ I asked incredulousy, “what’s the point of having a water pistol if you can’t squirt water at someone!’’ I muttered something under my breath about political correctness gone mad but Mrs T was not for turning (as usual).

But if she thinks in a few years’ time I’m going to let Baby T2 score a penalty against me she’s got another think coming.