Bunkered Brown has been finally forced to announce the date for the fag-end government's pre-election budget manifesto on March 24, weathering the storm with storm clouds ahead. Why did it take the struggling Supreme Leader so long?
The date of the Darling Mandy/Brown Balls Budget has been one of life's mysteries. The only clue being Dreadful Darling coming clean with a vague "sometime in March".
The Orange Party has been thumbing through the Political Guide for Geeks. The 2008 budget was delivered on March 12, announced on February 1, 39 days ahead. Last year Darling's budget was delivered on April 22, announced on February 12, 69 days ahead of time. So why all the secrecy?
The budget date gives clues to the date of the election and more importantly when Bottling Brown will make that call. Setting the date too early would give the game away.
Blustering Brown's gut reaction is to cling on until the bitter end. Partly to push as much monkey business through parliament as possible to screw the Tories and partly because he doesn't think there's a need for an election anyway.
But the money markets are waking up in a cold sweat having Borrowing Brown nightmares as Brown Balls tried to pull a fast one on Darling Mandy.
The election call has to be made sooner rather than later. At the stroke of midnight on Monday 10 May 2010, "the current Parliament ... will cease to exist", according to the Electoral Commission. A general election to elect the new Parliament "must be held by no later than Thursday 3 June 2010."
The current election flavour of the month is May 6, just 28 days before the deadline set by law. But May 6 means parliament would be either proroged or dissolved at least 24 days earlier, by April 12.
The parliament website is still keeping tight-lipped over the date of the Easter Recess.
The budget fires the starting gun of the election campaign proper. The key last roll of the dice on the pre-election grid. A mere manifesto with little time left to push through any of the measures.
All part of the pre-election plan to capture and dominate the media narrative. After Cashroft and dodgy push polls, Brown is allowed out only for the odd weepy and to come over all statesmanlike with staged PR stunts and photo-ops. Lines are already being trotted out. Ministers will be preparing to sing from the same hymn sheet: "we are all weathering the storm together."
But the only interest will be when to cut and how much spending and borrowing there will be in the battle between Darling Mandy and Brown Balls.
The bogeyman is Glorious St George's Day, April 23, with crucial GDP growth figures out for Q1. Treasury spinners will have poured over the figures gambling on the "good news" of another rigged recovery rather than the risk of the country slipping back into recession depression.
But anyone who thinks the economy will spin itself into a remarkable recovery is living in cloud cuckoo land.
The cat and mouse election call game in the gift of a struggling Supreme Leader is set to continue until Bottling Brown finally has the guts to name the day, the Palace of Westminster becomes a wilderness, politicians are booted out, MPs become mere mortals and Brown's BBC forced to clean up its blatantly biased act.
The country will be run by an unelected prime minister who isn't even an MP. And freshly scrubbed-up Dave will have to be given as much air time as a grisly old has-been. The election campaign proper will be short and not very sweet using every trick in the dirty book.
Electioneering Budget Day brings that day of reckoning just that little bit closer.
Top picture: Peter Brookes, The Times. Bottom picture: Private Eye