Back in Blighty

The editors of this Labour Party school magazine have decided they would rather have me inside the tent pissing out, so welcome to my new column - "The New New Statesman".

Every week from now on until I get bored with you, I'm going to use this space to explain what is going on, how it is going on, and why there is no alternative, to quote an old girlfriend of mine.

You'll probably remember my efforts to reform the Labour Party along market lines, and for over a decade, my New Labour experiment was a great success. Unfortunately, in the end Gordon Brown actually believed what I'd told him about the primacy of the market, with the consequences we are all having to live with - a trillion-pound black hole in the public finances and a six-month waiting list to get into a decent restaurant anywhere in the City of London.

I intended to retire from public life after the last election, but the new Prime Minister appealed to my patriotic sensibility, because deep down we are both One-Nation Tories. As it happens my nation is Monaco, for tax reasons, but that's no bar to doing one's bit for Blighty, as long as one doesn't actually have to live there.

So, when David asked me to help develop his personal vision of Conservatism, I was only too happy to establish my One-Nation Foundation. Over the coming months, this new think tank will be at the cutting edge of the progressive, inclusive, sensitive dismantlement of the welfare state.

Parenthetically, this is not the only think tank I've had of late. I had one only yesterday morning, looking at photographs of Miliband Minor's new junior shadow minister for culture. Say what you like about his politics, Ed certainly has a good eye for totty. No wonder he never married.

But I digress. You can do that when you're a billionaire. Although it will be some time before the One-Nation Foundation will deliver its first report, I can give you a flavour of the radical thinking that will help steer this country out of the economic mire.Over the past few weeks, we have been trying to slash Britain's huge incapacity benefit bill. My firm belief is that there is no one, no matter how "incapacitated", who cannot be put to work in a productive way. That is why next week I will be interviewing a number of MS and ME so-called sufferers for positions at my magnificent, if drafty, Wiltshire manor house.

If all they can do is lie around uselessly, then let them lie around in front of the ill-fitting doors. The savings I'll make in my heating bill should cover the minimum wages I'll be obliged to pay them - at least until I manage to get the minimum wage legislation abolished.

As told to Marks and Gran.

This article first appeared in the 18 October 2010 issue of the New Statesman, Who owns Britain?