Unfortunately, most of this wish list is likely to remain a fantasy but Darling could surprise us all and launch a ground-breaking reappraisal of Stamp Duty. Lord knows, the state coffers can’t be seeing much in the way of income from this tax at the moment. Now would be the perfect time to take a radical look at it and reform it so that when the market returns first-time buyers are attracted back.
But as regards the deficit, Darling has little room for manoeuvre. And whoever gets to govern the country after the next general election won’t either.
Even free market fundamentalists agree that government intervention has been vital to keeping the banking system on track but the consequence is that future governments will be forced to dip into our collective wallets to fund this largesse. No amount of wishing today will be able to get us away from that cold, hard reality.