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


Phew! Three hundred seats lost but no meltdown. In fact, not even a problem. Biggles Clarke has been all over the media doing his bluff bloke act with great gusto, but actually it's been an easy wicket to bat at. The Wing Commander has made minor inroads into Essex, and that's it. Lib Dems? Nowhere.

True, the BNP has won some seats in one of those mill towns. I know it's not politically correct to say so, but I just think that many of those people in Burnley will never integrate successfully into a modern, liberal, industrial society. And I'm talking about the whites, here.

Good to know that some of the voting gimmicks worked, too. Postal ballots were a big success, and the text message voting was way cool, I'm told. Well, there are plenty more ideas where those came from. There is even a rumour that someone at Old Queen House is actively researching telepathic voting - in which the voter in the pub, the shower or on the loo, beams his or her vote to a telepath seated somewhere in the town hall. I'd simply be worried that, at the vital moment, the elector would lose concentration, and that the poor psychic would find herself inundated by unwanted images of packets of crisps and slow bowel movements.

Seriously, the fact that turnout is up is a big relief. It is good for democracy, of course, but the truly wonderful thing about it is that it has stopped all those items being made for the BBC, in which academics and journalists berate us for being out of touch with the young and alienating the voter. Who is it, I'd like to know, who goes round knocking on doors and being threatened with the inhabitant's Doberman? Who spends time leafleting shopping centres on Saturday mornings? Who roams around on polling day in an old Astra, shouting pleasantries through a crackly old loud hailer? It isn't Professor bloody Ben Dover from Bournemouth University, is it?


Le Pen has been blitzed by the votes for that wonderful old progressive Jacques Chirac. That is what the bloody silly lefty voters of France reduced themselves to. Serves old Jospin right for spending his first two years bad-mouthing The Master and the next three trying to emulate him. Bitter, moi?

Mind you, an hour or so after the vote is in, the pundits have decided that the 18 per cent who voted for Le Pen "must be listened to". How few votes would they have had to get - I want to know - before we could safely ignore the racist bastards?


Breakfast time with Biggles Clarke, Lord Triesperson and Boss Hilary in Old Queen House. On the agenda is a report on the refounding of the old Tribune Group. Not a year ago this would have been a cause for the shaking of hoary locks and all that. Not now. We have evolved, over the last few months, a "soft management" technique. This, essentially, is the view that it does more harm to threaten, bully and cajole our backbenchers than it does good. We don't want any more Mad Marsdens and, in fact, we're not that keen on another incident like that with Slippery Ken.

"The Cultural Revolution is over. The Five Great Modernisations are in place. Now, we must argue with them," says Biggles, his ears aflap. "We must persuade them. Or, as in the case of the budget, we must simply give them something they really want every six months or so. So the task is thinking of presents for them. Fox-hunting is one. Our mission is to think of more. We'll have a brainstorming session next week."

Oh, good. Two ideas a week, one for the Sun and one for our MPs. That should keep the leader-writers busy.