I'm sure every Chancellor of the Exchequer must get well 'pissed off' on occasion. Normally, I'd have used asterisks ('p***ed off') but it seems that this has become an accepted parliamentary expression. Its very unusual for a Chancellor to use such an expression in a planned interview. Just don't be fooled that in some way, it was a 'slip of the tongue' from an angry man. Alistair Darling used the term in a calculated way, in order to convey an impression that he is an angry man. So its worth noting what else he's been saying, that he was so keen to bring to our attention.
First thing to note was what looks like disloyalty to Gordon Brown (from a man who has always been famously loyal). Darling claims that the UK is facing her worst economic crisis for 60 years. This is probably cobblers, (most of the figures are not even as bad as 1991) but what's interesting is that its a completely different message from that which has been spouted, ad nauseum, by Gordon Brown. He must have known it would make the Government look hopelessly divided at the highest level. Perhaps this was actually Brown's way of changing tack. And what was the bit about fellow Cabinet members wanting to take his job, and "actively trying to do it". Does he mean Brown, or Balls, or who? Blatant and calculated disloyalty it looks like. But this could be the sort of 'cover' to make Darling's supposed anger seem genuine.
I suppose the new strategy could all be a crude attempt at trying to paint so bleak a picture, that the reality will allow the Government to claim its competence in easing the worst effects of external pressures. It won't work, of course. But after reading the devastating critique of its unpopularity by Anthony King in yesterday's Telegraph, you can't blame Darling for trying. The big question for me is whether Gordon Brown was in on the Darling interview - or am I being too cynical.