IT’S meant to be about opening school fetes and eating cake at care homes, hearing the dreams of our youngest and the memories of our eldest. It’s meant to be about welcoming new citizens, toasting 100 year-olds, meeting the unsung. It should be a job all about celebration, about raising a bit of money for charity, while spreading some ceremonial pomp, and a bit of fun, around every corner of our borough. But less than a week after becoming Mayor of Camden, Richard Cotton has found one of his very first tasks as the borough’s first citizen has been far, far sadder than all of that.
Today, with the flag at half-mast at the Town Hall, he wrote to the Lord Mayor of Manchester to offer condolences to a city in mourning. “The warm-hearted public-spirited response of Mancunioans in the face of such tragedy will be universally admired,” he wrote in the wake of the terrorist attack on the Manchester Arena last night. If you saw the pictures of the sheer numbers at the vigil in Manchester this evening, you can see he’s right in these sweet words.
You know, last week I was teasing him about his choice of music at the mayor-making ceremony as the Primrose Hill Choir essentially sung a hymn for Spurs, my own team’s rivals. How silly does all of that sound on a day when Arsenal fans, Spurs fans, United, City and those with no football faith at all are feeling the same sorrow. But the choir also sung another one of Richard’s favourites… corny, twee, but heartfelt and enduringly right, Imagine.