Today is formally my last day as an MEP.
I have enjoyed (almost) every minute of it, including the discussions and debates with those whose views are radically different from mine, be they from other political parties or from the Eurosceptic brigade (who at least show some interest in European matters, unlike the apathetic multitude).
It has been a privelege to represent Yorkshire & Humber in the European Parliament and to do my best to ensure democratic scrutiny of those matters that we choose to decide jointly with our neighboring countries.
One advantage of a political death - as opposed to the real thing - is that one gets to read one's own obituaries and other comments. As one would expect of someone involved in political life, they are mixed.
I was surprised and delighted when the BBC website carried the following comment from their European editor, Mark Mardell:
"The saddest moment of the night: Labour MEP Richard Corbett lost his seat. Irrespective of party politics, there are some people who are good for politics as a whole. Mr Corbett, a decent, thoughtful politician, is also one of the few people who understand how the European Parliament actually works and explained it well. He'll be missed on all sides of the chamber.
Mark had previously referred to me as:
"an example of a conscientious and hard working politician if ever there was one"
which was very kind.
Meanwhile, The Economist's Charlemagne column/blog said:
"Mr Corbett and I hardly share identical views on the European Parliament, the EU, or the Lisbon treaty. But, like many journalists, I always enjoyed talking to him, because he was extremely knowlegable, decent and fair, and a shrewd observer of Britain's strange relationship with Europe"
The previous Chairman of the House of Lords European scrutiny committee (not from my party) said:
"I was physically sickened on learning of your defeat. The blows to you personally, to the EP and to the EU as a whole are hard to measure. You have been a rock of good sense, huge wisdom and unflagging dedication"
and I could go on, with quotes from across across the political spectrum and across Europe.
But not everyone had a positive view. The Eurosceptic "British Democracy Forum", for example, contained a few gems:
"Richard Corbett embodies all that is evil in this world. The man should be dispatched from this planet without delay. Simply voting him out of office is not enough .... he should be executed.."
"What a truly glorious moment that such a contemptible figure as Richard Corbett was voted out"
"This is the one result I wanted. Richard 'Lord Haw Haw' Corbett is the lowest of beasts"
Again, I could go on.
But it is in particular the thousands of individuals with no axe to grind who have written, phoned or emailed, whose views I particularly cherish and I would like to thank them all for their overwhelmingly generous comments.