IT'S time to put the clocks forward this Sunday and look ahead and not backwards.

Sunday sees the official start of a new spring in all our steps.

It has been encouraging seeing Wirral's own Phil-eas Fogg Davies, the much-travelled Michael Palin of local politics, out on the road.

He has clocked-up the air miles with visits to Reno in the US, China and most recently the International Property Conference in Cannes.

But let's hope some real results come from these municipal trade missions and that it’s not all all pipe dreams – a modern day expedition up the Amazon for lost tribes.

A paper chase ending up in the planning department's recycling bins.

I eagerly followed all the news in the Globe and tuned into hear Phil on BBC Radio Merseyside live from Cannes talking about how, in the past, Wirral seemed to lack ambition.

Hear, hear – but all that is changing.

This was power talk.

He spoke of real interest shown in the proposed one billion pound boost for Birkenhead and Wirral through investment and partnerships.

Phil also remarked how the best view of the magnificent Mersey skyline is from Wirral.

That much is true.

But Wirral itself, with its rich heritage, has so much to tap into for the future.

It would be a real success to hear one day that the best view of a sparkling Birkenhead skyline was from Liverpool.

Over the years I have reported on many planned inner city and urban developments from Merseyside to the Midlands.

Exciting plans that started as a spark but never became a flame.

It would be a tragedy if the current optimism comes to nothing.

So good luck to the Wirral Growth Company and Wirral Well Made – so much depends on the fruits of your labours.

And keep plugging the jewel in the crown the Hamilton Quarter.

Wirral does not deserve to become the location for a cobweb covered Northern Museum of Artists' Impressions.


POWER Talk – there's more.

Our council seems to be fired up on a self-promotional roll.

There are plans to create a 'Wirral energy company' (sounds like a contradiction, I hear some of you say) but its admirable aim is to tackle 'fuel poverty' by helping residents with offering lower gas and electricity bills.

Other councils have done it before and with varying degrees of success.

It does, however, offer choice.

But caution before you embark on such a project, WBC.

Can you please make sure there is a well-informed, efficient customer care service in place?

Millions of people have seen phone bills rise while waiting and waiting on helplines for answers to queries.

Let's not go from the frying pan into the fire.

As the great John Lennon and Wolfie Smith declared, we want more 'power to (and for) the people'.


WRITE on – it is always good to see authors attend book signings to meet their loyal fans.

To see their favourites in the flesh coming out from under their covers, so to speak.

I have enjoyed meeting international best-sellers such as the brilliant wordsmiths John Le Carre and Jack Higgins.

It is brave. I know.

I once held a signing session for my quiz book and not one person turned up. Very puzzling!

On another occasion I met a charming man who has sold 120m copies across the world – Wilbur Smith.

He will no doubt top the best seller charts with his latest work called War Cry.

He told me he enjoyed making personal appearances and one in particular in his native South Africa when he was introduced as 'Wheelbarrow Smith'.

That day he signed a copy of his book for me and when I got home it said 'from Wheelbarrow Smith'.

I later gave it to a charity fundraising auction.

I wonder what the eventual buyer thought about that novel signature?


THE mobile phone has certainly changed our lives.

In the past, I have interviewed celebrities in the most unusual of places on the understanding I could snatch five minutes here or there as the stars were busy on the move.

Mobile people.

I once chatted to Billie Jo Spears, who had a hit with Blanket on the ground.

She was in the bath at the time ... in Colorado.

Former Man United manager and 'outspoken' soccer pundit Ron Atkinson talked to me on the mobile blower as he filled up his car at Knutsford motorway service station.

There was also Ray Davies of The Kinks, who took time off from his snack at a Little Chef.

Thank you for the days, Ray.

But the one I remember most was the great Latin singer-songwriter Jose Felciano of Light My Fire fame – currently on tour with Jools Holland His wife said to me at his home across the Atlantic: "I will pass him the phone – he’s waiting for your call in the shower".


NEW Brighton Lighthouse is a real tourist attraction as well as being a symbol of Wirral.

Its foundation stone was laid in 1827 by the mayor of Liverpool.

Built of Anglesey granite, it went live in 1830.

Each of the stones was cut to a certain geometrical shape so they could be dove tailed into each other.

And they were coated with 'puzzellani', a volcanic material from Mount Etna, which has through time become harder than the stone.

Maybe it's time to twin with the recently erupted Etna?

Peter Grant