OVER the past years we have seen a gradual decline in the historical and ceremonial content of the annual mayor-making ceremony at White Rock.
I can accept that financial conditions necessitate some pruning, but we have reached a stage where I believe the mayor-making ceremony has little more significance than a full council meeting without the politics.
The ruling Labour group fail to appreciate that this annual event is not a political meeting, but an occasion steeped in history.
When it included robes, maces, formal dress, and pomp and pageantry, it attracted visitors and guests and many school children to witness an historical and traditional ceremony.
They claim to encourage tourism to our town and advertise the virtues of Jack-in-the-Green, the Bonfire Boys, the Town Crier, May Day celebrations and the Freedom of the Borough and rightly so. The annual mayor-making is equally as important.
This year at mayor-making, senior representatives, mayors and guests attended from other Cinque Ports and our European twin towns and included a group on holiday from New Zealand.
For what? A political meeting that did no more than extol the virtues of the incoming and outgoing mayors, vote in the new Mayor and his deputy and transfer the chain of office, after which the new Mayor signed a declaration which was not read aloud.
We were then entertained by a pleasant musical recital from Churchwood School.
The Civic Lunch was another embarrassment. The visitors, guests from other areas and councillors were entertained at a local Chinese restaurant.
There was an open buffet and in the true traditions of equalities everyone including invited guests had to find a seat where they could and get a plate and queue to help themselves.
After in some case waiting 40 minutes, you were able to serve yourself to what was in fact an very good meal. This was followed by a repeat procedure for dessert. Surely if our town invites guests to a function they should be treated with respect and made to feel special.
In organising events, the borough council staff have to follow the instructions of the leadership, but many borough councillors, including members of the Labour group were thoroughly embarrassed by the whole day.
Please let us rethink the situation. The Labour Party has a democratic majority to do as they wish, so let them have the courage to cancel the mayor-making in its present form. Deep down that is what this left-wing leadership really wants to do.
When there is a change of heart or a new administration and perhaps better financial circumstances, some of these centuries’ old traditions can be reinstated to once again show pride in our traditions, history and heritage.
CLLR PETER FINCH
Hastings Borough Council