The Journal of Lynton Charles, Fiduciary Secretary to the Treasury

Monday Nothing to do. Even the rural catastrophe task force is in temporary suspension since The Master took over running things from No 10. We've done all we can on the Elections Committee, and Bonkers Beattie's clever posters are all ready to run when the campaign for 7 June begins. At least, I think they're clever, though I'm a bit worried about the TV ad that talks about the Tories and their "Little Willy". Beattie is the man behind "fcuk" and Wonderbra, and you can't tell me that this message is entirely penis-free.

Mind you, our lot are more disciplined than their lot. Even Diane Abbott's gone quiet, and that's extraordinary. But the opposition! While the officer class is going round the country whipping up feelings about foot-and-mouth, the infantry are wandering drunk around the town, quarrelling and fighting each other. So, with three weeks before this election is called, there's all this stuff about whether Fatty Clarke is backing Mikey P to dislodge The Egg after the impending electoral disaster. Meanwhile, any day now, I expect a poll giving us a 30-point lead. At this rate, even I won't bother to vote.

Tuesday In the late afternoon, while I'm surfing the net for references to me on the Fort Knox computer, I get an odd summons. A note with familiar copperplate handwriting comes via Dolores, and it is an invitation to "supper and conspiracy" tomorrow night in the private rooms upstairs at the Soho House Club. "No RSVP is required, Lynton dearest," it says, "because I know you will come."

Wednesday I am shown to the very top of the smart town-house drinking-club, haunt of Hobsbawm Macaulay, the new bete noire of the sleaze-hunting right, by an elegant young person who could be a man or a woman and would (Sixties thought, this) be equally shaggable as either. What a shame, I often think, that politics, the press and marriage have put a premature stop to my sex life. Mind you, catching sight of myself in a large mirror, my abstinence is hardly bad news for my youthful guide.

Then a door opens. I can hardly believe my eyes. In a bright red, wet-look suit, with white shirt and black tie, shiny black winkle-pickers and wearing Ray-Bans is M! The defeated, bitter man of a couple of months ago is completely gone. Instead, what I see before me is a vision of confidence, of excess even. I suddenly think of Gloria Gaynor.

"Lynton darling," M says, planting kisses on either cheek. "You are thinking of Gloria Gaynor. Don't! Come in and join your fellow guests."

I enter. There is a long table piled high with food and drink. Simon Starbuck is there, as is Loveday Flessh, Rex from Parliamentary Strategists and a boffin from the IPPR. In a corner, the Defence Secretary stands talking to the Employment Minister, Hoon by Jowell. Then there is that incredibly bright woman MP who would be a minister if she didn't have a new baby every year (has no one told her about contraception? Mind you, who'd have the courage?) who is deep in conversation with Gus Macdonald.

M chinks a glass and moves to the centre of the room. "Friends, comrades even. Tonight is about having fun the way we like having it. As you see, I am returned to my natural state of ebullience, and I wish to be of service to my friends who share with me a similar vision of the tasks ahead and who want to play a major part in realising that vision. Declan, the diagram!"

The lights go off and a computer screen is displayed on the wall opposite. On it are the major positions in the Cabinet. The Master and Mr Brown occupy their current posts. But the others all have a question mark, and the Scottish and Welsh jobs are not there at all. Instead, there are numbered spaces for new positions.

"Now," says M, "this is the way that I see it . . . " And my heart skips a beat.

This article first appeared in the 23 April 2001 issue of the New Statesman, Blessed are the pure in heart