Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

The Journal OF Lynton Charles

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

The Journal OF Lynton Charles

Article excerpt

FIDUCIARY SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY

Monday Black mood. Swiss Bank Account Robinson has sold his story to the Daily Mail, and -- of course -- this has meant that it's been all over the BBC. If only he'd given it to the Independent, the BBC would never have bothered with it.

And, worse still, I have to spend the day talking milk. As part of Mr Brown's contribution to joined-up government, all us Treasury bods have been sent on Outreach missions into other departments. There we can assist them with their development plans and their bids for extra dosh. The key here is that we offer them the quids, but we want to see their pro quos first. My status as Blairite nark in the Treasury is confirmed by the fact that -- whereas A Smith gets Health, Red Dawn is allocated Education, and even Ten-foot Timms has the pleasure of mixing with the brass and moustaches down at Defence -- I am sent to the Min of Ag. Where, needless to say, I am received with all the warmth and friendliness accorded to a tipper truckload of manure on the front steps.

So here I am listening to some incredibly involved Civil Service disquisition on agri-money (the "agri" standing for aggravation, as far as I'm concerned), and the minister concerned -- some bloke who looks like a horse and sits for a rural constituency near Manchester (can there be such a place? I thought it was all chimneys) -- is down fighting floods in Sussex. Floods in Sussex! A couple of puddles in the cellar and life in Britain comes to a shuddering halt. Serve 'em right anyway. Ten to one, these were the people calling for fuel-tax cuts and now global warming has dumped their Volvo upside-down in the River Uck, or whatever the pitiful local stream is called.

Fortunately, the far more threatening torrent of words issuing from the under-secretary is interrupted by an urgent message. My new personal assistant, Isadora (as far as I know the only pre-op transsexual employee of the Treasury, and allocated -- naturally -- to me), is on the line and he/she is saying that I must get back to Fort Knox on the double. …

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