HUMOUR can diffuse many tense situations.

Laughter is a gift we humans have over animals - except hyenas, that is.

This column has praised those comedians and satirists who help us all see the funny side of politics.

It eases the pressure on us as we put into perspective the information thrown at us from all quarters.

But why do so many politicians themselves come across as humourless?

As we cope with political campaigning on every pre-general election front for the next two weeks it would be some light relief to see our MPs show a more human side in their public presentation of policies dealing with manifesto meltdowns.

We shall certainly miss the wit and wisdom of the late 77-year-old former Welsh First Minister Rhodri Morgan who stepped down from the assembly in 2011 for his admirable man-of-the-people appeal.

Memorably, when probed by media's interrogator-in-chief Jeremy Paxman if he wanted to be First Minister for Wales, Rhodri replied: "Does a one-legged duck swim in circles?" 

Paxo was stuffed in a soundbyte sort of way - how could he possibly respond to that? It became a YouTube classic.

Margaret Thatcher did not have a sense of humour and was bemused by Dennis Skinner's frequent barbed PM's question time wisecracks.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is now more laughed at than laughed with these days.

You would need a PhD in the Classics to understand his musings.

So please, politicians, do lighten up.

Get the common touch.

Put a bit of sparkle in your current party political bored-casts.

Tory leader Theresa May, if asked if she wanted a landslide victory could tilt her head and say: "Does a one-eyed owl sleep only half the night?" 

Similarly, when questioned by a political pundit if he will make tax evaders pay, the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn could straighten his red tie and sigh: "Does a short-necked giraffe go hungry". 

It would be more colourful than their polished pre-scripted, non-answers prescribed for them by those pesky spin (dry) doctors.


I AM getting increasingly disillusioned by polls that reveal the "best ever" this or "best ever" that by only using the responses from a few hundred people.

After all, how can Last of the Summer Wine possibly be in the top ten greatest sit-coms of all time?

Recently, one poll said Roald Dahl was a better storyteller than JK Rowling or Enid Blyton.

Jilly Cooper was deemed more relevant than Shakespeare.

As the Bard once declared there's "neither rhyme nor reason".

While the jury's still out on the reliability of exit polls there's still one recent poll that strike a welcome chord in these unpredictable times.

Following an outburst tweet from Hollywood A-lister Danny De Vito telling us here in Blighty that Jeremy Corbyn should be PM - there was a social media back-lash.

We voters in the UK are NO longer influenced by celebrity endorsements.

In the past UK stars such as Kenny Everett supported the Tories and Tony Blair courted the Britpop idols Oasis and Paul Weller for the young vote.

Happily consistent polls now say we are not star-struck like our friends across the Atlantic.

A definite change for the better when you consider big-hitter Mike Tyson is a Donald Trump supporter.


A LOCAL knight has been recognised.

Oh, yes he has.

The Inferno refers to actor Tom Connor, one of the area's most versatile stars who has wowed audiences in the Everyman Rock and Roll pantos.

He also played Paul McCartney in the musical Lennon at the Royal Court.

It was a five-star thumbs up from me for his guitar playing alone in that musical.

This stage and screen star (he was in Muppets Most Wanted) would be ideal if they ever make a version of "Riff-Van Winkle".

Tom is currently one of the multi-taskers at the new Storyhouse Company in Chester.

In one very silly sketch in the panto he said to the audience with a knowing, yet weary smile: "three years in drama school for this!"

Well, it's certainly paid-off for talented Tom.


MERMAID mania is going swimmingly.

As Wirral eagerly awaits a new tourist attraction the Inferno can reveal that it will come with a gentle warning.

Six mermaids will be unveiled on June 7 and to ensure that we all acknowledge the hard work that went into creating these maritime landmarks from the New Brighton Coastal Community Team, Storyteller Cathy Roberts - who has written the official Black Rock mermaid tale that accompanies them - has also come up with a rhyme to ensure we look after these lovely creations that make up the innovative Mermaid Trail.

Her cautionary tale says:

"Please respect our mermaid,

A sight so rare to see

She's not a seat or climbing frame So look, and leave her be..." 

Ah, me hearties - the Mermaid mystery continues.


AND finally ... World-famous Ramsey Campbell is used to signing copies of his horror books and last week at a recent reading in New Brighton, he was asked for a novel request for his latest work called Limericks: "can you please sign this to ... Stephen King". 

Alas, not the famous US novelist but a Wirral fan.

Or was it cue music from The Twilight Zone?

Peter Grant