Annual Council last night, with a lot of new faces on both sides of the Chamber lapping up the atmosphere.
A timeless element is added to this meeting with the election of the Mayor. The office of Darlington's ceremonial, non-political Mayor goes back 140 years, and there are a slew of former Mayors amongst both Tory and Labour Councillors. They know that it's a gruelling but immensely rewarding job, and much appreciated by local people. Our new Mayor Cllr. Marian Swift will be a first-class ambassador for the Borough.
Of course, if the shadowy businessmen behind the elected Mayor campaign have their way, this will be the last such occasion, as our ceremonial Mayor is consigned to the dustbin of history.
From the comments made on both sides before and after the meeting, I think that if a vote had been taken last night then there would have been an overwhelming majority in favour of retaining the ceremonial Mayor. Of course, it is the people of Darlington and not Councillors alone who will decide, and a lot of work to be done to explain to them exactly what they have to lose.