One week ago Peterborough woke up to blue skies – and it wasn’t just spring finally showing its sunny side. The Tory Party had a good night – regaining overall control of Peterborough City Council.
That’s quite an achievement for a Tory council that has had to contend with a huge reduction in funding and therefore spending, but has still managed to keep council tax bills down.
So much of an achievement that Prime Minister David Cameron popped into the town hall to say “well done, chaps’’.
By the way he’s the bloke responsible for the huge reduction in spending the council has had to deal with.
Mr Cameron is getting to be a regular visitor to Peterborough, albeit one who doesn’t answer any questions (perhaps it was just a lookalike).
Considering a poll reckoned the city was one of the most Eurosceptic places in the country he was no doubt doubly chuffed that UKIP suffered a bit of a bloody nose losing half (two) of its councillors.
UKIP had high hopes for making big inroads in Peterborough and this must be a crushing result for them. I doubt UKIP are ready to pack their bags and disappear off into the sunset just yet, but Peterborough’s result is a setback.
Labour are used to those (setbacks that is) – despite increasing their number of seats. Out of 60 seats they won just 14.
But after years of Tory rule, locally and nationally, it’s a pretty pathetic return.
I think it’s clear that Peterborough voters (even those inclined towards the left) don’t trust the Labour Party to manage the city effectively.
If Labour wants to run the city (and I’m not convinced they do) they need to get serious about it. They could start by producing an alternative budget to show how they would tackle the financial challenges.
National politics often have a big influence on local voting – but in Peterborough this time round it appears to have had minimal effect.
Look at the results in the Democratic People’s Republic of Werrington.
Or the Liberal enclave of Dogsthorpe.
Both those results are testament to hard working local councillors who put their communities first.
But city Tories should not get too complacent even if for now they are the Prime Minister’s blue-eyed boys and girls.
There is more than a sliver of truth in the theory that the North West Cambs part of Peterborough saved their bacon.
In the wards that fall in the Peterborough parliamentary constituency the city is not blue it’s rainbow coloured (although The Greens missed out).
The combined wards of Bretton, Central, Dogsthorpe, Gunthorpe, Paston and Werrington didn’t return a single Tory councillor.
And in Park even the Mayor only scraped in by 10 votes.
They work for you
I was one of the 823,345 British voters who signed a petition calling on the government to extend the Meningitis B vaccine to all children. It had previously refused to do so on the grounds it was not “cost effective’’.
The petition forced a parliamentary debate on the issue and, surprise, surprise the government says it’s still not cost effective and still won’t give all children the vaccine.
I don’t want you to give the impression the government is not taking the views of 823,345 people on board.
Not a bit of it. They’ve set up a working group “to look at how decisions about the cost-effectiveness of vaccines are made.’’
You’d think they’d know that already wouldn’t you?
But there’s more, they’ve asked Public Health England to develop “a national awareness campaign’’ about infections parents worry about the most. I’m reassured already.
As a manager I only have one objective and that’s not to be David Brent. So I was interested in a survey by recruitment specialists Reed which revealed the phrases guaranteed to irritate your co-workers.
The not so top 10 were:
Can I borrow you for a sec? (13%)
How long’s a piece of string? (11%)
Think outside the box (11%)
Teamwork, dreamwork (11%)
Keep me in the loop (9%)
Pick your brains (8%)
I’m stacked (8%)
Blue sky thinking (8%)
Just playing devil’s advocate (8%)
I don’t use most of them but I confess “can I borrow you for a sec?’’ is a personal favourite.
I didn’t realise it was so irritating and I always thought it preferable to “oi, you, get your **** over here now’’.
And frankly if you find it a more irritating phrase than “teamwork, dreamwork’’ then there’s something seriously wrong with you. Fact.
I know there are a lot of West Ham fans in the city – a legacy of Peterborough’s new town population growth. And I’m sure for West Ham fans leaving Upton Park for a new home is a big deal. But the rest of us really couldn’t care less.
Diary Of A Bad Dad
The Toddlernator – when he’s not trying to walk through brick walls, pick up items twice his size or go down the stairs head first – is expanding his vocabulary at a rapid rate.
After the obligatory dada and mummum, the words are starting to flow.
He even has a favourite phrase which is “bubble, bubble, pop’’.
Given his propensity for mayhem, it’s probably not surprising that another favourite is “uh-oh’’ which he says whenever he drops (hurls with all his might) various inanimate objects.
I was very impressed when I asked him if he had done a poo and he replied ‘yeah!’. I was even more impressed when he marched off and brought back his changing mat and a nappy.
“Clever boy,’’ I praised him.
I was less impressed when I changed him and found there was no poo.
Which come to think about it is the first time I’ve been disappointed not to be up to my elbows in...