And the magisterial tone. "Ed Balls cannot guarantee that Labour will protect university funding" - so Tristram Hunt better not get ahead of himself, eh? Which then forces "Ed Miliband to delay tuition fee policy". Hmm, I wonder who's calling the shots there, eh?
We can readily identify when this frenzy of briefing commenced: 17th January 2015.
"Harman and Balls win fight to sit at Labour’s election top table: Ed Miliband’s election team relocate from the House of Commons to the party’s HQ to prepare for May poll. Harriet Harman and Ed Balls have forced themselves on to Labour’s general election 'top table', after a ferocious power struggle within the party’s high command."But somehow, Hattie hasn't been quite so busy. Still, you can't object to a hyperactive shadow chancellor in election year, still less slap him down ...
Is this a leadership bid ? Does Mr Balls, onetime dean of the Gordon Brown Academy of Political Strategy, see the prospect of a vacancy later in the year ? Might this all become a self-fulfilling prophesy ? Oh yes, I think so.