Don’t tell Darling, tell George

With 12 March almost nigh there\'s been a conspicuous absence of Budget Day wish lists - those lengthy and detailed submissions by trade bodies to the Treasury, itemising areas of fiscal reform to help first-time buyers, out of work Northern Rock employees, and with the nationalisation of the lender and an improved social safety net for its customers at risk of being repossessed by the state.

Off the record, we’re told our representative bodies are weary of knocking at the door of No.11 and getting no response, and besides the chancellor has no room to manoeuvre anyhow.

But could that be a bluff, a bit like the government kidding everyone that Virgin was going to rescue the Rock when it planned nationalisation all along?

What it’s really doing is knocking on the door of George Osborne to spin him a line on more help for home buyers and perhaps state-backed guarantees of mortgage portfolios – after all Darling’s pre-budget statement borrowed heavily from Osborne’s proposals at the last Tory Party Conference and history, as they say, has a habit of repeating itself.