"I'M CITY born but I love the country life," sang Don McLean at his recent Philharmonic Hall concert.

The singer-songwriter is an environmentalist and we once chatted about his love of global greenery.

This is, after all, a man who inspired Greenpeace.

I wonder what Mr American Pie would make of the proposed 'unloosening' of Wirral’s green belt and the Government set housing targets?

Like Don, I too, have great affection for the countryside and it was going to Wirral in my childhood that I valued such escapism across the river to this picturesque land on my doorstep.

So I read the Globe's leaked story last week with real trepidation and, subsequently, scoured every diverse comment from worried readers that voiced an opinion on-line.

There are genuine concerns about this attack on the 14 wards affected in this shake-up of the green and (still) pleasant land.

We need the facts.

When it came to leaving or staying in the EU we simply weren't told the truth.

Now there is even talk of another referendum.

We can learn a lesson from such lack of communicaton when it comes to the green belt.

Subject to the council cabinet agreeing on Monday, the proposals will go to consultation including road shows and public meetings throughout the borough running until September.

Politicians must take note of the old adage 'don't lose sight of the forest because of the trees.' 

Look at the bigger picture – the whole social landscape.

So now folks - it's Green belt and braces time.

Everyone affected should voice how they feel about THEIR Wirral.


FOOTBALL didn't make it home after all but our young talent is making other countries (France apart) green with envy.

We did win the cup for over-reaching.

And certainly excelled in getting the nation carried away on the electrical, feel-good Russian, roller-coaster.

On a positive note, just like hearing Slade's Merry Christmas Everybody each Yuletude, it's good to turn it off.

Happily, the repetitive Three Lions anthemic song is going back into the archives.

Back in the UK (now that's a good title for a song) free-kick hero Kieran Trippier is being given the Freedom of Bury ... imagine what would have happened had we won. Mayor?

I have since heard radio phone-callers saying that England manager Gareth Southgate should be knighted.

Not yet. Maybe if we actually win the Euros in 2020.

But I tip him to get the BBC Sports personality of the year for his outstanding, motivational achievements.

Gareth was articulate, level-headed and witty at press conferences throughout the tournament.

He was a World (cup) away from predecessor Sam Allardyce.

Dignity certainly came home.


'SCOOP' that is what Phil Redmond still calls me.

I spent a lot time talking to him in my TV editor years reporting on his creations Grange Hill (written 40 years ago), Brookside and Hollyoaks.

I recall the first time he invited me to lunch.

Dining with Professor Phil you never had to queue in the Mersey TV canteen.

On hearing his recommendation from Liverpool Council grant him Freedom of the City, Phil says he was lost for words.

Now that really is a scoop: Redmond rendered speechless! 

I don't usually use exclamation marks, but it's warranted here. That said, Phil does have a sharp economy of words.

His former car park space at his then Childwall HQ had a sign that said: 'Don't even think about it.' 

So what next for culture guru Philip Redmond CBE?

In time for his 70th birthday next year how about 'Sir Phil'?

That would certainly look good on this patriotic and proud Scouser.


IT'S all Greek to me, but Mamma Mia – the sequel opens on Friday, sparking record-breaking ticket projections and video spin-offs.

And Mam I'm 'Ere, the inspired musical show opens a run at the Royal Court tonight.

I'm all for sequels as long as they don't ruin the memory of the original film.

The stars of Four weddings and a funeral recently met up. I just hope they don't reunite for a follow-up. 

I will avoid Top Gun 2, Mary Poppins Returns and the Simpson Movie Number 2.

On the smaller screen I am horrified to hear that the cast of Men Behaving Badly are keen to make another series in 2019.

Surely a tawdry comic tale of two misogynist, lager guzzling half-wits has no place on our TV screens in the light of the Me Too campaign.

There is, however, one welcome beacon on the sequel horizon ... Paddington 3.


PAWS for thought (part 2).

He's also bearing up well ...

One of the most enigmatic stars I have interviewed is Sooty.

He was born 70 years ago tomorrow and this weekend there will be parties in his home town of Blackpool.

I wish I could bear hug him now. Fur enough, I hear you say.

I once interviewed him on the phone.

His right-hand man Mathew Corbett would ask Sooty my questions and then the bear would whisper the answers back to him.

I waited on the phone for Sooty's wit and wisdom. l even asked him what it was like working with Gerry Marsden?

Sooty revealed he was a fan of the Pacemakers classic Furry ’cross the Mersey

That was all nearly three decades ago. Since then I have gone grey and become even more gullible while silent Sooty looks exactly the same.

Happy BEAR-thday.


And finally ...

Even as I watched the two nuclear powers of Trump and Putin shake hands in Helsinki, l felt optimistic.

I have my own reason to be cheerful about the immediate future.

The world couldn't possibly end today - it’s already tomorrow in Australia.

Peter Grant