MAY the force be with you - a week before one of the most life-changing local elections for many years.

And judging by political blogs, community campaign websites and angry letters and emails to the Globe and other local papers it is going to be one of the closest fought ballot box battles.

People want facts turned into action not promises converted into fiction. Like our soccer Premiership it will will go to the wire.

It can all be summed up by one suitable acronym - FACT.

Let me spell it out.

F is for faith ... that councillors from all parties are actually seeking election for the right reasons - working for a better Borough for every single resident.

A is for ... accountability. If councils were run like businesses it would have to justify decisions made to the stakeholders. This is the annual meeting equivalent.

Too many times the electorate is left in the dark and ignored in committee rooms.

C is for ... consultation. How many times have consultations been nothing more than cosmetic exercises. Promises made but seldom kept.

T is for ... transparency. Please, no more decisions made behind closed doors.

One of the most contentious issues of late has been the council adopting zero tolerance for its unacceptable and divisive litter enforcement policy.

The Manifesto Club organisation - which campaigns against stifling over regulation - has revealed that Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) in the UK have risen by 400 per cent in just two years.

This is worrying especially for any one concerned about the vulnerable in our society and for an overall attack on our day-to-day quality of life.

In the build up to May 2 we want Facts not Friction.


WHILE the public and our MPs have enjoyed a brief Brexit breather it is back to dominate the media.

A recent daily newspaper survey on what we see as "Britishness" has made for inspirational reading for many of our deeply frustrated MPs notably on St George's Day.

There are now some home-grown pointers as the nation’s politicians try and solve the Brexit dilemma which is more complex than the plot structure for Line of Duty.

Here is the top ten list of Britishness.

In reverse order (cue Top of the Pops theme music).

10: The pub

9: Queuing

8: Dunking biscuits

7: Saying please and thank you

6: Saying 'sorry' too frequently

5: Tea as a cure for all ailments

4: Putting the kettle on in times of individual and collective crisis

3: Fish and chips

2: Sunday roast dinners

And, at number one, being British is - talking about the weather.

The best Easter sunshine for 70 years has seen us all flying the flag while democracy shines too as the climate change protesters make their point.

Now, while I put my Earl Grey tea bag in my Union Jack mug, I will toast the stats that reveal 47 per cent of us say we are proud to be British.

And that one-in-three believe that the definition of Britishness has changed since the EU referendum.

I'll certainly drink to that.


HE may have been in '60s band The Hideaways but broadcaster Frankie Connor is not shy in coming forward.

Frankie, who hosts the popular Time Machine programme on BBC Radio Merseyside, is asking listeners to tell him the first record they bought.

Not only is he curious about his loyal audience's vinyl countdown but he decided to find out what was the first disc bought by his boss, the BBC's busy Director General - Birkenhead-born Tony Hall.

Mr Hall wrote back revealing it was The Beatles hit I Want to Hold Your Hand.

Frankie was so delighted with the personal response that on air he now interprets DG as "Dead Great."


OUT of this world ...

As a child my mum would buy me a watch to treat my phobia of the dreaded dentist.

Five decades on I have lost all my treasured Timex timepieces along with most of my molars.

But there's one I would still give my eye-teeth for.

A watch marking the anniversary of the Apollo Moon landing on July 20, 1969.

It comes with a NASA logo on the back.

But my favourite selling point on this "art watch" is the little blue marble circle in the background behind Neil Armstrong - planet earth.

It puts life into perspective. At £99.96 I will have to give it a miss - it would be one giant leap out of my bank balance.


ANOTHER timely anniversary is 50 years of the Open University which made degrees accessible to everyone.

Back in '69 it was championed by Sir Harold Wilson - a one-time head boy at Wirral Grammar school.

And there’s another Wirral link - Daniel Craig appeared in the OU's early television programmes before he graduated as James Bond.


AND finally ... Friday is World Penguin Day.

To mark this cute celebration here's a chilling tale.

On a polar exploration a devout preacher lost his treasured bible.

Then, on the final day of the expedition, a penguin waddled up to him with the much-missed Holy book in his beak. "It's a miracle," said the over-joyed cleric.

Looking up to the sky above he cried: "Lord, how did he know?"

The penguin walked off for his fish supper muttering ... "well, his name was on the inside cover."

Peter Grant