"Given his penchant for political theatre, Osborne might offer something completely fresh, in a final bid to frame the political debate in the run-up to polling day"
Yes, they got that right, those shrewd Grauniad commentators. Osborne will have been thinking about how to use this opportunity for at least four years, and we know he'll be trying for something dramatic. At the very least a power-play, another of the 'rolling barrage' initiatives: and in truth what he really wants is an outright game-changer. Something creative, unexpected, headline-grabbing, agenda-setting, initiative-grabbing, Balls-bothering, Mili-mithering, voter-pleasing ... just up George's street, or so we are led to believe.
Of coure these things often don't come off: Gordon Brown was forever trying the same trick and he fell flat several times, and flat-on-his-face more than once.
And Osborne's Big Budget opportunity comes with a twist, namely the need to have it approved by Clegg + Alexander in one of those 'quad' meetings they have. Had the LibDems been riding high(ish) this could have neutralised the potential quite substantially - why give an opponent a half-share in something clever? But as things stand, the junior partner that is trailing so badly will be just so grateful for anything they can get: so they can probably be steered into something that will suit Osborne's purposes fairly well. And he may not much mind them ending up on the same side of whatever devious dividing line he's hatching. Those final meetings of the famous foursome could be interesting.
So - all eyes on you again, matey. We're hard to please here at C@W, but shan't be slow to give credit - if it's due. There's glory to be had if you can square the quad and wow us all.