The Journal of Lynton Charles, Deputy Minister without Portfolio

Monday Dr Jack is on the line from somewhere warm. "I'm in Sirte. Important meeting of the Anglo-Tunisian Inter-Parliamentary Association," he tells me. "Yes, thank you, just put it on the bill. No, not you, Longbridge. Listen," he lowers his voice conspiratorially, "they want me to stay out here an extra day or two, and I need you to deputise. I know you've already got the Dome, the anti-adultery campaign and London on your plate (any news there yet? No? Keep trying), but I think it would be good for you to take on something more substantial. Lots of ice, that's it. As you know, The Master has declared eurowar, and we have to prepare for the battle ahead. I was to be sitting down with some of our more exotic allies tomorrow, but I don't think they'll mind if you take my place. I've arranged for all the papers to be sent to you. Ah, Karim. Time for a round before lunch? Terrific. Remember, Luxemburg, it's a party, not a government issue. Be discreet."

Tuesday In a boardroom at the top of the Express building, an extraordinary assembly of politicians and bigwigs sits companionably around a very large table. On my left are a man from the TUC and a man from the CBI, dressed almost identically (though the TUC man's suit is a better cut). Next to them are a Liberal Democrat baroness with Deirdre Barlow glasses, and that woman who runs the Labour Party and who would kill The Master's enemies with her bare hands. Opposite are a couple of Millionaire Peers, representatives of an increasingly ubiquitous and useful breed, whose homes, bank accounts and - as in this case - newspaper organisations lend the centre left facilities to which we are entirely unaccustomed.

Entirely accustomed to them, however, are the men on my right. Say what you like, but Hezza and Ken are stars. Close to, Heseltine is magnificent. Over 60, he still has the wildness, the irresponsibility, of an adolescent. The clothes are superb, the eyebrows majestic, the eyes beneath them alternately mischievous or a little insane. Where he is a coiled spring, Ken is a padded sofa. Comfortable, supremely confident, slightly sardonic, he regards us with a mixture of curiosity and indulgence. They remind me, together, of a vizier out of the Arabian Nights and his sultan.

Lord Hollick, whose gaff this is, opens proceedings. We are there to discuss a new organisation for those campaigning for a "yes" vote in the referendum - whenever that happens. Our enemies are already up and running. He lists them one by one. David Owen (a snort from the Lib Dem woman), Denis Healey (a raspberry from the TUC man), Stanley Kalms from Dixons (the CBI chap emits a low "boo"), William Hague (a derisive chortle from Hezza), the Thatcher Foundation (a hyena giggle from Ken), Tony Benn (hoots all round), Bill Cash (gathering hysteria) and the Murdoch press (a sudden quiet descends). They already have about five Councils for a Democratic Europe or Keep the Pound organisations, and now it's our turn. The Master has agreed that he will be at the "forefront" of the campaign, Hollick reminds us, but he's not completely sure what that means.

We then set to discussing funding (there's plenty), composition (as wide as possible, including the Nats) and a name (Eur-OK is currently the favourite). But, despite my best endeavours, I cannot stop my mind floating back 24 years to a cold spring day in Stoke-on-Trent. There, alongside Newcastle under Lyme Trades Council, the International Sparticist League and the Anti-Common Market Association, we marched for a "no" vote in the referendum. Afterwards, I went home with a girl from the WRP, and discussed Stalinism until, exhausted, we made revolutionary love underneath a "Just say no" poster. In the morning she denounced my technique as bourgeois and left. I never saw her again.