The Journal of Lynton Charles, Fiduciary Secretary to the Treasury

Monday Fort Knox on a Monday morning: Mr Brown in batey mood (all that honeymooning, presumably - must have played havoc with the treatise-reading) and it's drizzling in Whitehall. Since my religious experience in the Church of Santa Maria e Angeli, Mirabira, and my encounter with Brother Ignatio, I have felt both confused and a little elated. The lengthy conversation in which the brown-eyed monk talked to me about his passage into the Catholic Church, his continuing affection for liberation theology, his time among the slum-kids of Costa Rica, was uplifting. It is a long time since I last spoke to another man in that way. Not since Keele, and those late-night alternative seminars on Men Against Sexism with Red Dave Moberley, the charismatic sociology professor (later unfortunately discovered to be trading grades for blow jobs with a number of his female students).

It all raises the question of whether I want to be doing this for ever. I can quite see The Master, for instance, jacking it all in quite happily in four or five years' time and going off to head the Blair-Clinton Foundation for a New Moral-Temporal Synthesis (the Third Spiritual Way), while raising little Leo and simultaneously becoming a lay preacher. If they have such things in the Catholic Church. But do I continue to work my way up through government - probably making it into the Cabinet as agriculture secretary for two years - only to find myself making way for a younger person? Are there not other, better uses that I could be making of my God-given talents? Something to do with children, perhaps?

Tuesday Seems like Mo has been having the same thoughts and has now decided to sling her hook. Although I feel less sympathy than some of the more sentimental journalists (I mean, she could have walked it in London - Slippery would have had no chance), her experience does emphasise what a rough old business it is, this politics.

My departure, however, would go largely unnoticed. There has been no whispering campaign against me, and - although it could be done - I lack the energy to begin one myself. So I wouldn't have quite the same start.

Wednesday On the other hand, the latest poll puts us 20 points ahead. Nevertheless, there's the Egg droning on, in that terrible buzz, about the Tory policy on keeping Britain Britain, all of which makes him sound like a caller to the Jimmy Young programme, rather than a modern party leader. So we're likely to win again. And, on reflection, agriculture secretary is an important job; and it isn't necessarily true that it wouldn't (if done well) lead to more exalted tasks. Presuming that Mr Brown is the man next in the succession (unless the nation is ready for the whiplash and thumbscrews of the Witchfinder-General), well, I've forged links there. Anyway, one must always be careful about despair. After all, if the Egg can keep cheerful, I should be able to manage it.

As M says to me, when - over the telephone - I confide my spiritual confusion and despair. "Lynton, my foolish child. Point one: how much do you really like children? You've never seemed to get on particularly well with your own. Point two: as to despair, sweetest - despair, Lynton, would be waking up and discovering that the mortgage affair was all a dream, that I never resigned as trade and industry secretary, and that I am still responsible for the Dome."

That gets me thinking about the Faith Zone, which absolutely no one ever visits. Many of us may feel that we have an aching void that only spirituality can fill. But when it comes to actually trying to fill it, it just seems so - I dunno - beside the point, really. And Brother Ignatio now feels a long way away, and our talk a long time ago.