Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

The Journal OF Lynton Charles FIDUCIARY SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

The Journal OF Lynton Charles FIDUCIARY SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY

Article excerpt

Friday My drug revelations this week have made me media flavour of the month. The Mail has lamented the growing trend of politicians who admit to having indulged in "mind-bending and hallucination-inducing narcotics". It has obviously never seen its own Diggory Pitts, doyen of the lobby, after his seventh G&T. The Guardian has praised my honesty, the Independent has invited me to follow the logic of my own experience and to support the legislation of every drug you've ever heard of. The Times is unsure, the Telegraph very worried, the Express delighted (now there's a turnround) and the Morning Star argues that it's a sign of Blairite degeneracy.

I have been invited to discuss the subject on Newsnight, Tonight, Today, Tomorrow's World, Yesterday's Witness and Meet the Ancestors (I exaggerate, but only a little). Starbuck has called to congratulate me on a "painless and bold piece of self-promotion", which is his idea of a compliment. Maybe, but that's it for now folks. You never quite know with The Master whether he's going to be in his "I'm a child of the sixties" mood, or whether he has switched to the stem-but-loving paterfamilias who firmly directs his children away from bad things.

So it is in a cautious spirit that I go to lunch with Alan Grouse of the Independent on Sunday and Simeon Kline of the FT. It was arranged yonks ago and is one of those little duties that we politicos are bound to perform. The trick, as M advised me long ago, is to discover what is being said about me and by whom, while not saying anything myself.

These boys, however, are at the cerebral end of the market, which means that they're happier talking about themselves than they are listening to the likes of me. So I should be OK.

We meet at 12.30pm in La Indiscrezione, an upmarket Italian place in Victoria, just far enough from Westminster's main drag to be private. …

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