A few months ago, I rather unkindly suggested that Alistair Darling is no more a Chancellor than Captain Scarlett was an actor. This may now be his salvation. Reading Rachel Sylvester’s column, we learn that Brown watered down capital gains tax reform and made his volte-face on Scottish tax proposals without consulting his Chancellor. If Darling is letting it become known that the strings are indeed being tugged from No10 then he’s also saying that if this puppet goes down, he’ll take the puppet master with him. A stand-off to savour.