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

Monday Got a spare half-hour while the masses vote for Blind Lemon's terrorism bill, and still the issue of the succession is bothering me. The weekend's shenanigans, which could be summed up with the headline, "The Master and Mr Brown fall out, but no one knows when or what about", is a reminder of the mortality of all things political. So let's use the time to try to resolve this Mr Brown v Blind Lemon question by constructing a Lynton Charles balance sheet.

Mr Brown. For:


Brain the size of the universe

Voice like a foghorn on the Forth

Debater from Hell

Not so much focused as laser-guided

Best Chancellor since the one who was the best one before him (I'm not much of an expert on dead chancellors)

Unions like him

Got down debt and increased public spending

I've worked with him and we didn't fall out

Bun in oven (family vote)


Scottish (doesn't matter in England, but Scots will hate him)


Could get madder

As touchy as a Broadway diva

Surrounded by own ultra-loyal band of homicidal tribesmen

Four years of agony, consisting of two years of Tory spending policies and two years before any new money showed up

Despite this, unions like him

I've worked with him and he thinks I'm a waste of space (conjectural, true, but I got that distinct impression)

Blind Lemon. For:


Northern, but with inoffensive accent

Log cabin to White House life story that's better than Abraham Lincoln's

At each stage of his career has glided effortlessly to the most electorally advantageous position, while somehow maintaining the fiction of being on the left of the party. Nice trick if you can manage it

Made to look youthful and trendy by his stance on cannabis (youth vote)

Visibly and necessarily kind to dogs (old women's vote)

Not mad (cabinet vote)

Not touchy

No tribesmen


No tribesmen

Idea of fun is an evening with Libby Purves

Gets "civil liberty" and "bleedin' liberty" mixed up

Thinks gays shouldn't have sex until retirement age (loses youth vote again, but picks up on the old men)

Doesn't have a clue who I am

So - obvious conclusion: get to know Blind Lemon better. Starting now.

This article first appeared in the 26 November 2001 issue of the New Statesman, The New Statesman Special Report - The SAS story they want to suppress