IT'S less than four weeks away and a lot of us are none-the-wiser.

I am already going nuts and it's not even May.

The inaugural Liverpool City Region election will be held on May 4 to elect the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority mayor.

Subsequent elections will be held in May 2020, and then every four years after that.

The MM will have control over the whole Liverpool City Region combined authority area which consists of the following local authorities: Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, St Helens, Sefton and Wirral.

The winner will work with existing city and borough leaders to take forward the mayor’s strategic plan.

The MM will have a budget of £900m over 30 years with powers on education and skills, planning and housing, transport, health and social care.

Right! That's all we know.

Nobody is talking to us about who really is the best person for the crucial job.

Now I am not alone feeling like a schoolboy cramming up enough information before exam time - in this case May 4.

There's so much to understand - but so little time.

Where are the politicians to "talk to us and to engage with us" to use the PM's catchphrases?

I can guarantee if I walked through the high streets any of the six regions and did a spontaneous vox pop few would really know the ins and outs of this election.

We were overwhelmed with the Brexit campaigns.

Battle buses, ill-tempered hustings, a sea of leaflets and endless TV interviews.

But at least politicians were communicating.

With Brexit we were given so much information and a fair splashing - it now appears - of fake news.

Voters were changing their minds day-by-day.

That's democracy.

And now look what’s happened...

Brexit for many is still a complete, utter mystery.

While Saturday's Grand National is an open book, the Metro Mayor stakes looks like a one-horse race - Steve Rotheram.

But can we please, in the weeks left, hear from all candidates whether in open debate or on a local regional TV programme or in an independent newspaper opinion mover and shaker like the Globe.

Otherwise, like Brexit we will all be heading to the polling stations woefully ill- informed.

For now, dear readers ... May the fourth be with you.


TALKING of bewildering Brexit, Theresa May has officially triggered Article 50.

While Remainers and Brexiteers still battle it out, one celebrity has a surprisingly mellow take on the negotiations.

John Lyndon, alias Johnny Rotten, once spat out the anti-royal lyrics of God save the Queen.

Now JL has revealed a more softer, philosophical side with his new slogan.

The rebel, who reinvented himself advertising British butter, recently told a journalist: "We've got Brexit – let's exit". 

Not quite what you would call anarchy in the EU.

YOU can be sure there’s always something to celebrate with The Beatles.

Each year there's an anniversary to mark.

The Sgt Pepper 50th bash is no exception.

It was the first album I ever bought with my pocket money.

It was the first LP to include lyrics and free cut-out and keep cardboard medals gifts inside.

I still have mine.

I recall years later going to Abbey Road to pop the champers for the 40th birthday.

I met Sir George Martin in Studio 2 and he told me I was sitting in the exact place where John Lennon sang A day in the life.

Next year will be 50 years of The White Album and on it goes.

But Pepper remains more than an album, as music guru Paul Gambaccini once told me: "It was an event". 

So welcome back to Billy Shears and the band we've known and loved for all these years.

I'll still be playing it when I'm 64.


STAN the man Boardman is back on the box this Sunday recalling one incident that caused him to be banned for a while.

He told a joke on Des O'Connor Live at 8pm - one night in the mid-'80s. It was all about the Fokker aeroplane.

You get the picture.

By today's standards (see Comic Relief) it was tame stuff.

Now Channel 5 are digging it up again in a programme called When chat shows go horribly wrong.

Stan says years later the film Meet the Fockers came out with Robert De Niro and no one blinked an eye. Stan is now captain of the Variety Club Golf Society.

And it’s going to be a busy year for him with charity tournaments in Hillside as well as an Audience with... shows at the Epstein Theatre in July and September.

Plus a secret gig in Wirral (watch this space and this column).

Stan will be 80 in December when his auto-biography is out.

Plane sailing ... but don't mention The Fokkers.


WELL done to Gerry Linford of Ellesmere Port who is flying the flag for the arts.

He has been highly-commended in the Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize 2017.

Judges included Frank Cottrell Boyce and Les Dennis, who said Gerry's comedy called A prayer to Saint Cajetan - based on actual events from his childhood - made him laugh out loud.

The Inferno was there at the Royal Court to see Gerry miss out on the £10k prize which went to London-based Simon Bradbury, who topped the six-strong short list from 200 entries from across the country.

Modest Gerry says he hopes to see his work seen by an audience one day.

Bravo to this Wirral wordsmith.

Peter Grant