This morning I went along to the Civic Centre to an informative event that was being laid on for the benefit of aspirant candidates for the forthcoming local elections.
A good crowd was there to learn about life as a councillor, as the well as the mechanics of standing for election. A crafty look at the attendance sheet, which curiously asked all those present to declare which party they hoped to stand for, revealed that there were a fair few potential independents in the field, and not only those associated with the ICG.
Some interesting presentations were given by the Leader of the Council, the Chief Executive, Councillor Matt Harmer and the Elections Officer, as well as a virtuoso performance by Thomas Ribbits, the Head of Democratic Services, who revealed a flair for public speaking of such a magnitude that it made the business of council committee structures and process sound interesting.
As I sat at the back and looked at those gathered I had an uneasy sensation of deja vu, and for a moment I was back at school sizing up the new first years and trying to work out whose tie I should twist first. I jest a little, but the realisation for the first time that I had become one of the "old boys" was more than a little scary.
Nobody knows what will happen on the fateful day in May, especially amid the chaos that is likely to be the general election on the same day. But on the balance of probabilities I met some of the next intake today, and at least they know now how to fill out a nomination form.