STATUES are silent ... but sometimes they speak volumes in an unspoken, universal language.

In Rotterdam there is one sculpture called Destroyed City that has left a life-long impression on me.

It is a bronze figure with a hole in its torso - its hands held upwards, eyes looking up to the sky, pleading, begging for the German airforce in 1940 'to stop the bombing.'

Now there is a statue in the UK that has affected me in a similar, unforgettable way.

Knife Angel stood outside Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral over Christmas and has now been sent to Coventry where it will again make people stop and think outside its cathedral.

It is made up of 100,000 confiscated knives.

There should be a replica of this stunning statue in every town and city; a chilling poster image on trains, buses and in our schools supporting one united message: "we who are human beings and who value life have a zero tolerance to knife crime."

And that is the only time I ever wanted to hear the term zero tolerance ... Sadly, that is not to be.

It is now a crude slogan for crimes against the environment used by Wirral Council who recently parted company with controversial litter enforcers Kingdom Security by 'mutual consent.'

At Monday's extraordinary council meeting council leader Phil Davies, who leaves local politics in May, said: "If you don't vote for zero tolerance you are saying it is acceptable to drop litter."

What did the angry public in the balcony say: 'Rubbish'.

Does Mr Davies really believe it?

Was this always part of his 2020 vision?

This form of zero tolerance, as I have said in this column before, has the potential to seriously damage Wirral's reputation as a great place to live and work.

WBC should now erect warning signs on both tunnels and ferry terminals: 'Welcome to Wirral - a zero tolerance zone.'

It will educate tourists and those businesses thinking of investing here.

It will be a reminder to residents, communities and vulnerable folk that a heavy-handed, sledge-hammer approach to alleged environmental crimes is the only answer to maintaining a beautiful borough.

How did the committed, caring members of the public including members of the Wirral Against the Litter Police, respond to the vote? 'Rubbish'.

The mayor's calls for consistent shouting from the gallery to stop prompted the reply: "Why? It's not as though they're listening."

With less than seven weeks before the local elections it is timely to remind every councillor who voted for zero tolerance that the electorate also has a zero tolerance for those who do not listen to them.

They also have a zero tolerance to those who say one thing and do another.

And they also have a zero tolerance for councillors who show a total lack of transparency.

People power took a knock on Monday ... but it will be back in the fraught build-up to the May elections.

Beware WBC ... all those zeros add up.


COMIC Relief is no laughing matter ... I wrote that two years ago, following a dire evening of stunts and sketches masquerading as entertainment.

This year's figures say 600,000 viewers turned off - not to the charity but the five hours of tired telly. Such fund-raising started with our own Beatle George Harrison’s concerts for Bangladesh in 1971 which raised money for refugees which, in turn, inspired Bob Geldof 's Band Aid and then Live Aid. Comic Relief was born from such admirable inspiration.

Its creator Richard Curtis has done so much for charities at home and abroad. Now, it is part of a cycle of fund-raising with Children in Need in November, Sport Relief next year and back to Comic Relief in 2021.

Angrily, my red nose turned redder this year when some politicians claimed the BBC were being pro-Corbyn in highlighting - via moving films - a growth in food banks and homelessness.

All our political parties are to blame for a society now relying on Comic Relief - aka ordinary people being extraordinarily generous. Now I ask producers like Comic Relief organisers to be charitable - keep telling us where to send the money, but please drop the tired telethons.


WHILE Red was the colour of Comic Relief it's time for a bit of yellow.

March 29 is Vincent Van Gogh’s birthday - he would have been 166 years old.

One man who will celebrates that fact every year is Wallasey-based George McKane.

He created Yellow House - named after one of the Dutch painter Vincent’s abodes.

It has done so much dealing with issues from mental health to bullying and loneliness and isolation since opening its doors in 2000.

There will be a guest appearance by Vincent himself (looking remarkably like George) at Lovelocks restaurant in Liverpool.

On International Yellow Day George wants everyone to wear their hearts on their sleeves by donning something yellow to show in this ever-cynical world solidarity with those members of our community who are suffering. By George, what a lovely idea.


And finally ...

I hear the Department of Work and Pensions has a press officer vacancy. It must be the only job more soul-destroying than being a public relations officer for Brexit.

That said there could soon be an opening for a damage limitation officer for WBC with zero tolerance as one of their misguided mantras they are surely going to need one.

Peter Grant