There was a time when no-one would have dreamed of learning what was in the Budget before it was announced to parliament. Indeed, in 1947, Chancellor Hugh Dalton was obliged to resign after revealing budget secrets to a reporter after revealing Budget secrets to a reporter on his way to the Commons chamber to deliver it.
But nowadays any suspense is gone. We all know that Slasher Osborne will do a little to moderate the expected increase in petrol prices (too little, too late), that he will set up a green bank with a little more seed corn than originally expected, that he will increase personal allowances by £600 from April 2012, that he will introduce a new tax on private aeroplane passengers and that he will whack up the duty on fags and on strong beer and spirits (possibly with some leniency for weaker beers). For the longer term, he will set up a committee to look at the merger of income tax and national insurance. Otherwise, it will be steady as she goes.
As ever, I think I preferred it the way it used to be.