HAPPY Birthday – Inferno.

The Globe's apolitical opinion column is three years old today.

It's where you won't find any fake news. And I am "over the moon" about that.

But I have a bee in my bonnet ... clichés are back to haunt us.

Election time does that to our MPs and councillors.

This weekly column prides itself on avoiding clichés like the plague.

After all, they are ten-a-penny.

Years ago I wrote lyrics for a song by Steve MacFarlane and Wirral Arts Ambassador Billy Hui for the album Happy Daze which raised money for Merseyside homeless.

One track was called Cliché Time Again.

We might re-record it and dedicate it to politicians who know a thing or two about stating something without actually saying anything.

Such remarks appear in television interviews from "let me make it perfectly clear" to "the fact of the matter is" and "in my lifetime".

We soon discovered that with one dubious slogan: "we're all in it together".

We aren't.

Now it's time we powerful voters gave all political parties a taste of their own medicine.

When they start appearing, rosette-clad, on the streets and on our doorsteps and ask if they can "be sure of your vote" let's throw some of our own clichés at them.

Bombard them with such vacuous responses as "that would be telling" or "it's more than my job's worth" or better still, the mysterious riposte "you can't judge a book by its cover". 

When they reply that they are "none-the-wiser" point out that they started it.

So let's pray for a cliché-free campaign.

Facts and figures please - in plain English - so we can skip into our polling booths with confidence.

As I blow out 156 Inferno candles that would be my wish - the "icing on the cake", so to speak.



Film producer Colin McKeown, the man who gave us Liverpool One (the cop series not the shopping precinct), has broken all the TV rules by having the exclusive screening of his latest drama series in a church.

St Francis Xavier's in Liverpool was the setting on Monday night for a preview of Jimmy McGovern’s six-parter called Broken.

The church is where many scenes were filmed.

It stars Sean Bean as a priest and former Brookside star Anna Friel.

A lot of Merseyside's acting congregation was there including Ricky Tomlinson and Eithne Browne sitting in pews alongside the Inferno.

Yet there was some un-divine intervention when the huge screen was overshadowed by sun streaming through the stained-glass windows.

So everyone had to wait more than 90 minutes before Colin let the sun go down and it was action time.


He even filled in by performing a song which, I must confess, would get him a slot on Britain's Got Talent.

Mr McKeown told the Inferno that the screening blip was "just a clerical error". 



THE Wirral Globe School Awards take place next week and tick all the right boxes.

I wish we had these educational achievement accolades when I was at school.

Back then teachers, pupils and support staff never got the credit they deserved.

We have awards for every other profession from journalism to estate agents, bakers and even councillors.

School shapes all our lives and we should applaud the best in their fields.

It inspires us all.

It's not enough to wait for the Queen's honours to see a small percentage recognised.

I was taught by nuns and Christians brothers and in later years I wish I could have gone back to shake their hands for inspiring me.

My own cousin was knighted for services to education. Sir Paul Grant made a difference.

So, closer to home, it's the right time to congratulate all the Wirral nominees now and in the future.

Well done to the local sponsors for backing it all.

The smashing trophy sums up what the winners have achieved – it simply features "a star".


EURO sceptic ... that's me.

I refer to the big Eurovision Song Contest vote on Saturday and it hasn't got anything to do with Brexit.

Or has it?

Britain's contribution to the Euro Derision Contest is another lack-lustre effort.

The chosen singer Lucie Jones is hedging her bets by saying there might be some political voting going on.


Isn't it down to the fact the entry is so ordinary – characteristically bland?

I recall 1969 when Lulu - who will be at the Floral Pavilion in November - won with a song that beat a composition from a young Elton John and Bernie Taupin.

So how on earth did Boom Bang a Bang win?

But did you know in 1969 we didn’t actually "win" outright we shared the title with three other countries.

Still, it was infinitely better than our recent trademark of "nul point".


SIR Ken Dodd (how tickled I am to write that phrase) praises New Brighton in the latest bright and breezy 2017 free visitor guide to the town.

Doddy compares it to the Cote D'Azur.

They share the same climate he says: "Raining sunshine". 

The comedian (90 in November) will be appearing at the resort's Floral Pavilion on May 28.


AND finally ... talking of Eurovision it was 20 years ago this month that the late, great presenter Sir Terry Wogan summed up the Eurovision Song Contest.

"That's the whole point of it, of course, to sneer at the foreigners".

Peter Grant