Chancellors of the Exchequer come and go – some more swiftly than others. Sometimes they find themselves re-shuffled, sometimes their party carelessly loses an election.

What has changed quite dramatically is their budget. For starters, it only used to be once a year, and would be a major parliamentary occasion in the Commons.

The chamber would be standing room only, and journalists became fixated on minutiae like what the resident of 11 Downing Street had as his tipple.

Changed days. Once upon a very long time ago, a Chancellor had to resign because he had committed the then unpardonable sin of releasing a sentence of his speech to a reporter. And did so not many minutes before he got to his feet. Panic and consternation in his ranks.

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Compare and contrast the last few Treasury pronouncements, which have been so heavily leaked in advance you might imagine the local plumbers have all been furloughed.

One of the Sunday broadsheets, not at all incidentally the organ for which the current Prime Minister used to write, now functions as a de facto Downing Street press office.

I wrote the first version of this column before Wednesday's Budget, so had no idea of the detailed plans Rishi Sunak would unveil for life on planet Covid. But, as it happens, I did know what money is being chucked at which Scottish projects.

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That’s because a press release came out on Monday night, embargoed only till 10.30pm that evening – many, many hours before RS was due to stand and deliver.

It may be that governments these days think that if they drip-feed the budget news, they get several bites at the media cherry, rather than a big bang for a couple of days.

But in truth I miss the contrived drama where the bean-counter-in-chief would suddenly announce beer was cheaper, fags were dearer, and Auntie Gladys’ knickers would no longer be subject to VAT.

On the other hand, certain of our furry friends may be finding life rather more pleasant. It can’t have been much fun being the rabbit who had to hang around in a hat for a couple of hours before being triumphantly pulled out.

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