Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

The Journal of Lynton Charles: Chancellor of the Duchy of Durham

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

The Journal of Lynton Charles: Chancellor of the Duchy of Durham

Article excerpt

Wednesday Some bastard MEP called Barf has jumped ship and joined the bloody Wing Commander! Apparently our lot in Strasbourg were being horrible to him and not letting him have one of the key jobs, cos they'd promised it to some Greek as part of a deal. So this Barf, who is a supporter of the euro for Chrissakes, has decided that his ideals are best served by throwing his lot in with the most swivel-eyed bunch of xenophobes in British political history! Bad for us, but worse for the Redhead's lot.

Anyway, within seconds, word comes down from No 10 that they would like advance notice of any other defector possibilities. Just so that they can have a story to tell, and all that. So Boss Hilary, our goons and myself find ourselves in her office running a pencil over the 300-odd backbenchers we have to police, looking for potential traitors. Mad Marsden is one thing, because there is always at least one complete nutter in any intake. But Barf!

We agree that Diane Abbott is unlikely to join the Tories. The Socialist Alliance maybe, were it not for that organisation's inability to attract more votes than the I'm Bonkers In A Gorilla Suit Party. And we work on through. Who is disappointed? Just about everybody could claim to be, we suppose. Who's lost their job? Kate Hooey, the south London, pro-Unionist fox-hunter, is a possibility here, on a very bad day. But as we end with Peter Zarb, MP for somewhere we hadn't heard of till 1997, we agree that this is needle-in-a-haystack country.

The way things are right now, it could be anybody or nobody. I mean, here we are putting really vast amounts of dosh into the public services - dosh beyond our capacity to spend it, frankly - and everyone is going on strike! What bollocks is this? They stayed quiet after 1984, took everything the Tories could throw at them, and then the moment we start easing up a bit - wallop! …

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