The truth is out there... somewhere

Yorkshire men are known for their plain speaking and straight talking and those traits have got me into a fair amount of trouble down the years.

Sunday, 17th July 2016, 4:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 5:14 pm
Peterborough Telegraph's Man behind the mic column by Paul Stainton, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire host -

The singer, Beth Orton, was once playing live on my radio show when she asked what I thought of her performance, to which I replied, “Not bad.” Her expletive laden reply, at four-fifteen in the afternoon, would have made Adele blush but failed to 
impress a listening clergyman.

Once I was convinced that football pundit, Alan Hansen, hadn’t actually written his own book and I thought it would be fun to devise a test to discover the truth, so I asked him what was on page 77; the conversation was over quicker than the Tory leadership contest.

As I have grown older I have learnt to temper my eagerness for truthfulness and have adopted a far more pragmatic approach; I call it the Tony Truth.

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No longer do I have to advise the wife that her hair does in fact look a mess when she enquires. It is now simply an “interesting new look.”

Other people’s children are not ugly and annoying they are “developing into a looker when they grow up” and simply “a bit of a handful.”

Through this ingenious method, invented in 1997, by a Mr Blair, I have realised that there are different levels of truth; your truth, their truth, the truth and half- truths; in essence you don’t always have to tell the whole truth, just a version of it.

If you are really clever you can blur the lines between truth and lies, error and bad judgement. A good example of this was showcased after the release of the long awaited Chilcot inquiry, into the Iraq war.

The inquiry concluded, after seven years of exhaustive investigation, that former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s justification, planning and handling of the Iraq war involved a catalogue of failures; a scathing verdict on Britain’s role in the conflict.

However, despite being labelled the world’s worst terrorist, by a lady from Cambridgeshire, whose brother was one of the 179 killed in the conflict, Mr Blair, remained virtually unbowed and instead treated us to his interpretation of the report.

Saddam Hussein was a bad man apparently, said Tony, and you can’t leave dictators like that in power, although it’s perfectly acceptable to invite others to pitch a large tent in London and go around shaking their hands.

He explained away the poor planning, the lack of weapons of mass destruction and the claim that these invisible missiles could hit us in the time it takes to drive from Peterborough to King’s Lynn; he claimed that too much emphasis had been placed on that intelligence - if only they had listened to Hans Blix, Robin Cook and Charles Kennedy who all knew the claim was ridiculous.

Incidentally, if you are going to King’s Lynn anytime soon, make sure you allow plenty of time for the roadworks at the Dogsthorpe interchange.

Councillor Peter Hiller, the city council’s cabinet member for growth, planning, housing and economic development, claims that the year-long improvement scheme will make things much better in the future and said that the council are doing all they can to reduce any inconvenience in the meantime.

The next time you are sat in that horrible traffic you will be able to work out quickly for yourself whether that is the truth, the whole truth or Tony’s truth.

Who knew the truth could be so elusive?