"Tories' challenge on council reform: do you mean it?" screams the headline in today's Darlington and Stockton Times.
The story contains the news that Darlington Conservative Group has designated key members to "shadow" Cabinet members in their portfolios. For example, Heather Scott, the Group Leader, will be my opposite number on health and leisure.
"Wow" thinks the average reader, "these Tories are getting serious about opposition at last."
Well, up to a point, Lord Copper. Being rather long in the tooth, I can recall that the Tories have appointed shadows on at least two other occasions since the instigation of the Cabinet system. Each time we were promised forensic opposition, and each time the Tories seemed to forget about it after a few weeks (bless 'em).
We'll see if the initiative this time lasts beyond Christmas...