OPTIMISM versus Pessimism - I'm eternally hopeful there is only going be one winner in the guilt-racked relay race of life.

In this cynical, social media-saturated world, optimism comes free.

Sadly, so does pessimism.

Now Trans-Atlantic health chiefs prescribe a daily dose of positive vibes as the medicine to help beat socio-economic ills.

One recent report confirms that Monty Python's bitter-sweet anthem is the song we should consistently sing 'always look on the bright side of life.'

Optimism slashes the risk of heart attack by a third according to researchers who pooled data on patients' levels of positive thinking and overall health from 15 previous studies.

The latest 'feel good' review confirmed a previous US report that a sunny outlook is ideal for our individual and collective health and wellbeing.

More than 230,000 people across the world were observed for an average of 14 years.

The in-depth findings revealed there were 35 per cent fewer strokes and heart attacks among those identified as optimists while deaths from any other causes had dropped by 14 per cent.

An upbeat outlook even helps reduce contributory factors such as high blood pressure and cholesterol.

Dr Alan Romanski, author of the study at Mount Sinai centre in New York, supports the 'can do' philosophy.

'Optimism is a positive attribute for living,' he says.

However, pessimists won't hear of such a thing.

They will continue to see a cloud in every silver lining while carrying business cards that say 'in the event of an accident ... I am not surprised.'

Or the Dickensian accountant who once advised me: "never borrow money from an optimist they always assume they will get it back."

Last word goes to Mark Twain who, like John Lennon, praised life's dreamers: "It is better to be an optimist who is sometimes wrong than a pessimist who is always right."


JOPE springs eternal in Port Sunlight.

I applaud Alan Jope, the environmentally serious (that's a huge step up from friendly) CEO of Unilever.

Mr J has excited a lot of people with his announcement that the company, which owns brands such as PG Tips and Dove soap, plans to halve the amount of new plastic it uses by 2025 in a bid to appeal to the shoppers of tomorrow.

Let's hope the forward-looking Mr Jope's admirable ambitions will rub off on the President of the United States.

He was once a judge on Donald Trump's reality show The Apprentice.


FOND farewells from the Inferno to two formidable Merseysiders - Peter Sissons and Tony Mulhearn.

Two men from different fields who never forgot their working class roots.

Peter, who was in the same year as his friend Paul McCartney at the Liverpool Institute, became a top-notch journalist.

He once told me that seeing the Liver Building with its two birds perched on top was like looking at a 'virtual postcard' from his home town.

His work on the Hillsborough Independent Panel will be remembered by those who respected his passion for the truth.

And another focused figure and communicator who made his mark was Tony Mulhearn.

I reported on the Militant era in 1987.

Articulate Tony stood out for being one of the few councillors who actually listened to questions and although he disagreed with many in the media and Westminster he always respected the views of other people.

Dapper Tony was tailor-made later in life to be the voice of the Merseyside Pensioners Association.

So goodbye Peter and Tony - two caring men who will never be forgotten for their fight against fake news.


AS I de-clutter and downsize I am relieved that I am not alone in feeling it hard to sling mementoes into the skip of life.

Toy manufacturers Hexbug carried out a fascinating 'Q and A' with parents and discovered that we start collecting from childhood and get so attached to objects that we simply can't bear to part with items that remind us of happier, innocent times.

A period we now call 2016 PB ... Pre-Brexit.

It seems 72 per cent of us start out collecting as a hobby.

It's the impact of the free things in life that remain: the sea shells from New Brighton beach, the acorns from Birkenhead Park, the Tranmere Rovers football programmes.

The top ten chart of collectible items are objects we still want to hold on to for posterity and include (cue the theme music from Top of the Pops) ... at number eight it's concert and theatre ticket stubs while at number seven it's pebbles and at six it's pin badges.

Coins are straight in at number five.

Bubbling under at number two is pure and simple stationery ... at number one, it's soft toys.

As Wirral looks forward to the Eureka Science Museum it is inspiring that we will have a real haven for curious-minded children everywhere.

Now where did I put my Woody Woodpecker fan club card?


And finally

TOMB it may concern ...

Artefacts from the Tutankhamun burial vault are coming to London's Saatchi Gallery from November 2 for the very last time before going back home to stay permanently in Egypt.

As you might hear in Horrible Histories 'you can't say Pharaoh than that.'

One item winging its way here is an item you would never associate with the golden treasures bestowed on the Boy King - a boomerang.

It was buried with him so he could 'slay' the forces of chaos which awaited him on the 'other side.'

Boris Johnson should try and borrow it ...

Peter Grant