HASN’T the world has been waiting for Ben Elton to return, an Eighties comedy superhero a man who can see through lead-lined doors of nonsense, into the future and has the comedic strength to free us from the evil of mis-truth?

We once smiled gratefully when the stand-up/writer/novelist tore into “Mrs Thatch”, when he dug deep for the miners.

And wasn’t he Avenger-bold when he fought for feminism, performing routines, for example, about how television couldn’t cope with the subject of menstruation?

Now, Elton is back with an 80-night stand-up tour to help us cope with the chaos.

But wait a minute, 60 year-old Elton’s superpowers seem to have waned.

Sitting in a quiet corner of a plush Glasgow hotel, the man who created the anarchic Young Ones and co-wrote Blackadder is looking tanned, slim and self-assured in soft blue shirt - but he admits he doesn’t have the answers any more.

“I don’t even get what I once got,” he says with a wry smile.

“Not only am I confused looking forward, I’m confused looking back. In fact I’m getting stupider as I get older.”

He pauses (which is unusual for Elton) to add; “Let me give you an example; I’m fascinated by the modern idea is that a woman can have a penis – and I appreciate this is a complicated sensitive issue worthy of civilised, careful debate – but we’re not getting it partly because no one is acknowledging the confusion of changing times.

“But the debate is that gender has nothing to do with biology. The very idea that people can have a choice over gender is new to me.”

What of politics, Ben? Are you still prepared to rip off your shirt and fight to defend the Labour Party, given its opaqueness and anti-Semitic travails?

“No, because I don’t think I have any choice. I think the Party is in a state of flux but I think Corbyn made the only sensible contribution to the Brexit debate when he said I am 60-40 Remain, that there are good reasons to leave - but not good enough to leave it.”

H e adds; “He was castigated, yet he feels it’s impossible to organise labour when you have free movement of labour. And you can’t call people racist because they have fears for their workplace.”

He takes a breath. “But the Labour Party is eating itself up over anti-Semitism. Who saw that one coming? That is a surreal nightmare. Yes, I think we could have a better leader. But I don’t think we could have a worse leader than the Tories have. Yet, the self- preservation of an Old Etonian has to be seen. They are the f*****’ cockroaches of the world.” He grins; “Not all of them. George Orwell was an Old Etonian.”

What of the Scottish dilemma? Divided over both Brexit and independence? “I can understand why Scots want to get away from the madness but I don’t think geographical nationalism ends well. “My grandfather (the historian Victor Ehrenberg; Elton’s father changed the surname when he came to England in 1939 to escape Nazi persecution) won an Iron Cross in the First World War and within 20 years he was running from soldiers wearing the same uniform.

“I know the SNP contains people of good will but when you let the nationalist genie out of the bottle you’re taking a big risk.

“Principal based on geography is strange. And as for culture? I think the people of Glasgow share far more culturally with the people of Liverpool than they do a landowner up the road from Edinburgh.”

He adds; “For me it’s always been about class. I came up to Scotland during the miner’s strike and I wish it was still about brothers and sisters in solidarity protecting jobs. “Scottish Labour had a lot of faults but we have to remember the SNP was conservative 25 years ago – and it will be again.” He produces a wicked laugh; “But I will say that all Nationalists are welcome at my gigs.”

There’s no denying the former Manchester University student – he met Rik Mayall there) still believes passionately in fighting the fight for fairness.

Time and success haven’t dulled the edge. “We’re living in really, really dangerous times. When you have a Prime Minister defying the law what’s to stop a bunch of lads on Sauchiehall Street saying ‘We’ll defy the law too’? And referendums are madness. The Germans ban them in their Constitution because they are infinitely manipulable.”

He adds a final thought on Brexit; “If we’re leaving, we’re leaving. But it’s got to be done properly. And three years isn’t long enough to debate it because it’s f****** life-changing.”

Elton refuses to connect to social media. “I can see why my publisher would want me to get a million followers and sell my latest book (Identity Crises). I can see why Hugh Laurie set up a Facebook page to promote his band.

“But I see social media as a forum for those to vent jealousy and prejudice. And here’s the thing; I’ve been getting trolled since before the name was invented, so why would I put my head above the parapet in another form and say ‘Here is my head, kick it here.’”

His voice picks up speed. “And isn’t curating your Twitter feed a way to entirely f*** up your life?’ I’d face an essay crisis. I’d need to think about what I write and I’d spend all day on it. I’d never get out the house.” And in any case, I don’t want to bleed my ideas onto the internet. I want to keep them for novels and stand-up routines and plays.”

Elton says he has no interest in the diary aspect of social media telling people what plane he’s about to get on. “Then you have to count the Likes every time you Tweet. No, I don’t want to be part of it and it’s a sacrifice I’m prepared to make because I know social media would f*** me up. It’s bad for your mental health.”

The writer could live happily on the royalties for his musical theatre efforts such as Queen-backed We Will Rock You and Rod Stewart songbook Tonight’s The Night alone. But he does need to go back to basics, to test himself? “Yes.” Was he trepidatious of getting back up there? “Very. There is a lot of expectation on me to be funny and thought provoking every night on my 80 gigs. I know I can do good lines, but the challenge is to make my ideas work.” I

Ben Elton, The Pavilion Theatre, Ocotber 1.