Peterborough is not Grunty fen.. discuss!

It's not often politicians from the main parties all agree but that's not the case for the wannabe mayors of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.

Thursday, 30th March 2017, 11:38 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 7:03 pm
Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton -

They all agree that what they know about Peterborough could be written on the back of the proverbial fag packet.

In the past few weeks the PT has interviewed the candidates. The only two who can claim real Peterborough knowledge are the Green Party’s Julie Howells and Stephen Goldspink of the English Democrats – and whatever your politics we know neither are likely to trouble the scorers come May 4.

Here’s what the others had to say about our great city:

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Labour candidate Kevin Price admitted his knowledge of Peterborough was “less than my knowledge is of Cambridge’’.

Peter Bullen, from UKIP, said: “I will admit straight off I don’t know a great deal about Peterborough city because I don’t live there.’’

Peter Dawe, an independent, admitted he was “weak on the special nature of Peterborough’’.

LiberalDemocrat Rod Cantrill said his knowledge of Peterborough was “increasing rapidly” but added: “I’ll be very honest with you that I don’t know all the parts of the region as well as I would like to.’’

James Palmer, the Conservative candidate and therefore hot favourite to be the first mayor, bucked the trend claiming: “I know Peterborough very well. It’s a city I’ve visited innumerable times to shop or go to football’’.

But Posh and Queensgate are not Peterborough...Dogsthorpe, Bretton, Welland, the Ortons, Parnwell, Werrington, Walton and Longthorpe are... and lots more beside.

Peterborough is not Grunty Fen, it’s the biggest city on the Combined Authority’s patch – they should know about it.

I remain hugely concerned that Peterborough will be the poor relation in this new organisation.

Even before it is formed the Cambridge centric bias is clear in the choice of candidates.

As a voter and taxpayer everything about this process irritates me ­– from the Government bribe of the promise of a university for Peterborough to the fact the unelected Local Enterprise Partnership will have a place in the mayor’s cabinet.

And then there’s this quote from Communities secretary Sajid Javid. He said: “The people of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough came up with an ambitious devolution deal which puts them in charge of decisions that matter to them.’’

The people? The people!

Are you sure about that Mr Javid? Unless, of course, by the people you mean a handful of career politicians (mostly Tory).

As Olivia Newton John one of Cambridge’s most famous daughters almost once sang “You’re not the one that I want.’’

Can we all agree on that?

Shopping trends

I’m as excited as the next man about the planned development at Queensgate shopping centre and I eagerly pour over each new artists’ impression.

One thing puzzles me though. The shoppers in this imagined future all seem to be white, young and fans of the smart casual dress code – not necessarily the impression I get when I visit the centre.

What a croc...!

This week’s coveted most ridiculous email award (and there’s always a lot of competition) goes to stag party organisers and their offer of the “world’s most terrifying stag weekend activity... crocodile wrestling.’’

Call me unreconstructed but give me a stripper any day, although to be fair a good tussle with a croc might be good practice for married life.

The website says its available from April 1, so perhaps it’s not just a croc attempting to pull our collective leg!

Yes boss, no boss

Posh’s season has petered out disappointingly – as a Leeds United fan I’ve been used to that feeling for several years.

But I was a little concerned that Posh owner Darragh Macanthony reacted by sacking assistant manager Lee Glover.

As a fully paid-up member of the Number Twos Club can I make it crystal clear that we “do not carry the can’’ and “the buck doesn’t stop here!’’

Diary Of A Bad Dad

I did have hopes that Toddlernator the Terrible would be more laid back than his big sister.

The early signs were good – despite his physical propensity to go through or over rather than round anything that was in his way– he, to put it simply, didn’t appear to have inherited his mum and dad’s stroppy genes.

His sister definitely did and we reckoned T the T would go one of two ways – either he’d go with the flow and let her stridency wash over him or he’d go head to head in a sibling stropfest to the death.

The other day Schoolgirl T had bagsied the Ipad and mum was watching Made In Essex Shore on the telly.

I didn’t want the little fella to be left out so I got YouTube on my phone and found him a Thomas The Tank Engine episode.

He was delighted with what was a new piece of kit to him and was soon scrolling and swiping to his heart’s content.

The editor was baffled to receive a text from me which read %*j44)))£kbvb#####.

So I thought it was time I reclaimed the phone before he hacked my Twitter account.

“Could I have my phone back please,’’ I asked.

“No you couldn’t,’’ came the indignant response.

I decided not to push it... I’ve seen that look before!