ZERO tolerance - Wirral Council are surely aware that it works both ways?

Just ask the electorate.

WBC makes the news headlines - locally and nationally - often for all the wrong reasons.

Following anti-street litter and dog fouling campaigns the council's controversial environmental enforcement hit squads have targeted small businesses - many family-run - so much so that a petition has been launched to get them removed.

Claims are rife on social media.

Time, it seems, for the council to accompany Kingdom on jobs where they are carrying out work on their behalf.

In this column over the past five years, I have applauded the council when it gets things right and I point out the times when it gets things wrong.

One Wirral antiques business believes WBC's latest campaign is unrealistic and mis-directed.

They have written to council leader Phil Davies and various movers and shakers.

These are ordinary, hard-working people who are asking "Why wasn't this whole confusing campaign better communicated?"

The Phil Davies urban utopian 2020 vision could end up as shattered glass (can someone have a waste bin handy? You wouldn’t want to be fined).

Small businesses are feeling let down referring to broken promises of transparency and consultation which seem to have been been dumped (keep that bin handy).

People handed £300 fines are rightly putting in passionate appeals and want assurances that elected members - from all parties - are on the panel.

It defeats the object of an appeal if it’s made up purely of Kingdom staff ... where is the basic human right of impartiality?

I have met many people who have first-hand experience of encounters with Kingdom and have had sleep-less nights over alleged offences. This has to be nipped in the bud.

Sadly, some people have told me they would not set foot in Wirral until Kingdom are banished, because they wouldn't feel at ease and do not want to be municipally mugged as they had been in Liverpool.

Technically speaking ... just who are the litter louts?

I know of one successful business ready to pull out of the borough because of this botched, blatant form of revenue gathering.

Cllr Davies, who steps down in May, wants to leave a legacy any politician would be proud of.

It's what all residents and businesses want, too.

In this very paper he said he wanted Wirralians to "lead happy, healthy aspirational lives" with his colleagues in office helping to "improve the quality of life while meeting the needs of the communities."

Aren't we all working together towards that end?

Alas, at the moment the motto for the peninsula could well be: "Wirral ... A FINE place to live and work?"

The question mark, sadly, speaks volumes.


TALKING about rejection ... sometimes it is - ironically - just the motivation people need.

The household names featured in the BBC's search for the ultimate Icon all deserve to be there on merit.

This series, which ended last night, was entertainment and education in its own right.

One thing emerging from the researchers is that legends from Chaplin to Bowie, Pele to Churchill coped with personal and professional rejection which ultimately invigorated their spirit.

All the icons featured inspired us to learn from their mistakes. But where were The Beatles and Elvis Presley - working class survivors?

Icons from all walks of life bounced back with a zero tolerance of failing in their own standards and personal goals.


"AND the winner is ..." I hope the envelope featuring the name of the short film category winner at the Oscars on February 24 does not reveal the word "Detainment."

The unauthorised production uses police transcripts from the James Bulger murder investigation.

The director did not let the family know he was making it.

Mum Denise Fergus is disgusted.

While standing in a newsroom I, personally, will never get over seeing the haunting image of James on TV being led away on February 12, 1993.

I have met Denise and her eyes say it all.

I can't imagine how she coped then and how she does now.

I have one question for director Vincent Lambe: "How do you sleep at night?"


NAME that tour ...

Paul McCartney called his most recent series of global box office breaking gigs Freshen Up.

Elton John is on his Farewell Yellow Brick Road world trek and The Who are Moving Up.

My favourite tour title comes from Camden band Madness, who pay homage to our very own Wirral heroes OMD - Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark.

Andy McLuskey and Paul Humphries have been given a respectful 40th birthday "gift" from the London nutty boys.

They have called their forthcoming open air concerts: Orchestral Madness in the Park.


AND finally ...

Groundhog Day is one of the greatest fantasy films where a man re-lives the same day over and over again while reporting on the fact that a rodent can predict the weather way down in Punxstawney, USA.

This year, on February 2, the Groundhog predicted an early spring. Hold on a minute ... haven't I told you that already?

Peter Grant