The Journal of Lynton Charles, Chancellor of the Duchy of Durham
Thursday Everyone's very nervous now. Oh yes! Companies falling over themselves to tell the world how they are going to have to lay off millions of workers because of the Budget, pundits scaring us witless with pronunciations on how this is a return to old Labour, and Lib Dems congratulating us on carrying out their policies. Some of our boys and girls have gone very quiet in the tearoom. There's nothing like having your wish come true to make you wonder whether it was a good wish, after all. I have a bad feeling about all this.
Friday Nothing but moaning. The nurses say that they must get all the money, the doctors say they should have it, and no one seems to notice that they weren't able even to spend the money they already had. And they're supposed to be pleased. Some bloody female doctor even beards Mr Brown outside a hospital (now officially the most dangerous place for a politician to be seen - well ahead of visiting the troops in the Tora Bora mountains) and complains that she, too, is going to have to pay extra taxes. Well, what did she bloody expect? A special income tax for non-healers only? We will rue the day, mark my words.
Saturday Strange. The sky is refusing to fall on our heads. I was half expecting one of those terrible seismic shifts, with everyone saying that not only will they not vote Labour again, but that they will bend every sinew to make sure that we are chucked out on our sorry arses. But the Wing Commander is more or less completely silent, and although some of the papers are still hostile, all the vox pops they do, involving mums in Bromsgrove and wallpaper salesmen in Halesowen (does that place really exist?), aren't too bad. Closer to home, Harriet Toogood reports a good reception for the Budget on the doorsteps. Are we to be spared?
Sunday (afternoon) Polls in the Sunday papers show a majority of Tory voters backing the Budget. The Master appears on Breakfast With Frost and reveals how the tax hike was a part of his own personal vision. Mr Brown appears on The World This Weekend and reveals how the tax hike was a part of his own personal vision. I am prepared to go on any programme that will have me and reveal how the tax hike was a part of my own personal vision.
Sunday (evening) Hubris! All was hubris! The French elections show how we are all doomed! The mad voters will chuck us all out on our ears, given the first opportunity. Remember Slippery Ken! Recall the Kidderminster consultant! They're all dormant fascists out there, really, just waiting to be awoken by the kiss of a hideous prince. A chill passes down my spine.
Monday Biggles Clarke unruffled by France. He simply thinks that it couldn't have happened to a nicer person (Jospin) at a better time (for us). "You're not going to get quite so many fashionable people wittering on now about how it doesn't matter if you don't vote, are you?" demands Biggles, the tips of his ears a frightening red. "When all we have to do is point across the Channel and give a long, low moan."
Tuesday Old Queen House is organising busloads of party workers to go to Oldham and Burnley to mobilise opposition to the BNP. All this and a tax increase too, for the sake of the NHS. It's just what we've needed for some time. I've always said so. One just needs to keep a steady nerve.