Is today the start of the election campaign?
Make no mistake: the “leaks” that we’ve been seeing ahead of this afternoon’s PBR statement by the Chancellor have nothing to do with smart journalism or a desire by ministers to be open and accountable.
This is all deliberate, well planned and is about shaping the environment in which the statement is received and, of course, trying to get one over on George Osborne. And before you shout that this is unfair be assured that if ever the Tories gain power then they would do exactly the same thing.
Unlike a budget statement where the main Tory response is by the party leader this afternoon’s first response is from the Shadow Chancellor and there is nothing that Brown Central would like more than for Osborne to f**k-up.
Just remember how Brown structured his final budget as Chancellor in March 2007. The news of abolition of the 10p tax rate was made in the final salvo only seconds before Cameron had to respond. As it turned out that proved to be too clever by half and created massive problems for Labour a year later.
For what we are seeing today is the start of the general election campaign with Labour setting out its stall and the grounds on which it wants to fight.
The current plan is for me to be commenting on the afternoon’s events as they evolve on Sky News – so I’m now on my way to London.