Peterborough’s honours list – who scoops a coveted ‘Turkey’ award this year?

Welcome to my annual awards, which this year I have renamed The Turkeys.

Tuesday, 31st December 2019, 7:00 am
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

The Do The Math Award goes to education secretary Gavin Williamson (cc Boris Johnson, Paul Bristow and Shailesh Vara).

Peterborough primary schools continue to languish third from the bottom foot of the national league tables. City council cabinet member Lynn Ayres says the city is the third lowest funded education service.

Do the math, minister.

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The Move Along Nothing To See Here Award goes to those investigating former Police And Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite who dramatically quit earlier this year over allegations of misconduct.

The tax-paying public were told very little about the nature of the claims until the alleged victim, who was disgrunted about the progress of the inquiry, came forward to allege that she had been sent explicit pictures of his, er, bits, by the ex-crime chief.

The Kick It Into The Long Grass Award goes to train company LNER who in the summer had passengers, some fainting, some vomiting, stranded on a train outside as the carriage temperature topped 50C.

The Peterborough Telegraph contacted LNER to ask why it took so long for passengers to be rescued, and what was being done to prevent similar issued from happening again in the future. A spokesman for LNER said those questions would be answered in a review. We’re still waiting.

The Where Have All The Flowers Gone Award to Peterborough City Council who had lost up to 300 mobile phones during the move to their swanky new offices in Fletton Quays at a cost of at least £2,000 a month (many since found the council says). Months later it was revealed that the cash-strapped council couldn’t afford a few hundred quid to plant flowers in the planters in Cowgate.

The I’ll Probably Be A Quiz Question Award to Lisa Forbes who became the city’s shortest-ever serving MP losing her seat at the General Election just six months after being elected at a by-election.

The I’m More Than All Right Jack Award to Peter Fankhauser, the Swiss chief executive of collapsed travel giant Thomas Cook, who took home £8.3 million since taking the helm in 2014, including a £2.9m bonus in 2015. More than 1,000 staff in Peterborough - average salary £23, 562 – lost their jobs.

The We Miss You Now You’re Gone Award goes jointly to Northminster car park and Cathedral Square’s artificial Christmas tree.

The We Won’t Miss You When You’re Gone Award is another joint award to Kingdom and Stef and Philips. Kingdom is the private company tasked, among other things, with nabbing Bridge Street cyclists and dishing out fines. Its contract with the council ends on January 31.Its finest moment remains when one of its officers threatened to fine a group of children peacefully protesting in Cathedral Square about climate change.

Stef &Philips were the property management firm the city council did a deal with which saw people evicted from their homes in St Michael’s Gate to make way for homeless people. Now the city council is buying the homes albeit at a price estimated by some to be almost £5m over the market rate.

Perhaps the city council should choose its housing deals more wisely in future.

The Robert the Bruce Try, Try and Try Again Award to disgraced former Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya who has spent the year proclaiming her innocence after she was jailed for perverting the course of justice. So far, she’s not been able to convince anyone.

The Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life Award to Caroline Walker, the chief executive officer of the trust which runs Peterborough City Hospital. She responded to a watchdog report which said the trust ‘required improvement’ and which highlighted services which had deteriorated by saying it was a ‘good source of information to progress our continued improvement.’

Finally, for the nth year running The Smart Aleck Award goes to (drum roll please) ...yours truly.

Have a great New Year, everybody.