Ed Balls would be well advised to steer clear of the Sunday papers where he will find nothing but praise for Alistair Darling.
Mandelson describes him as a “safe pair of eyebrows” and:
There is no showing off, there is no bravado about him. He says it as it is. I texted him and said, “Alistair, you are in danger of becoming a national treasure.”
Steady on, old chap. Whatever next?
Labour’s ‘priceless asset’ is taking it all his stride in hours before his next big test:
Tomorrow evening, he will face his Tory and Lib Dem shadows in a Channel 4 debate, effectively the first big televised showdown of the election campaign. Preoccupied with the budget for several weeks, he has not been thinking about the debate. One of his aides suggested that the chancellor might like to spend some time preparing.
He responded: "Why?"
Now, Alan Watkins joins the party:
The hero of the hour, if that is what he can be called, is Mr Alistair Darling.
He resembles a piece of the good ship New Labour that is still afloat, just about. The struggling crew are clinging to the wreckage. He is like a Scots lawyer (which is, after all, what he is) who tells the assembled family that, with a little saving here and there, they can just about manage to get by.
Last but certainly not least, John Rentoul puts the icing on the cake.
Good grief One throw-away line and the AD4PM committee has been formed.
But wait. The coming man has given an interview to GQ magazine:
Mr Darling said he had "absolutely" no desire to lead the Labour Party.
Of course not, Darling.