PBR: Toto - we're not in Kansas anymore...
With an hour to go until Alistiair Darling delivers the PBR, it is clear that on many fronts British politics and economics are moving onto unknown territory.
Moody's threat yesterday to downgrade the UK's sovereign debt set some of the mood music: we are looking at a man who has to convince the bond markets he does not intend to let inflation whittle away the profits on the money they are lending him.
On bonuses, though small, the ideological impact is significant. Those who were treated as heretics in Cabinet for suggesting a cap on bonuses are basking in the new orthodoxy this morning. Not only will there be a bonus supertax - and you can tell it is significant because bonuses have suddenly become an emotive issue for bankers: there will be outline proposals for a Tobin Tax and a permanent levy or insurance programme for banks to pay into. This is all driven by Andrew Haldane's thinkpiece about reversing the power balance between state and finance. Only months ago Darling and Brown believed global, market-based (ie capital adequacy) solutions were the way forward: now they seem to have moved beyond the G20 consensus (remember the Tobin Tax was only inserted at the last moment as "a discussion" in the Pittsburgh declaration). Again - new territory.
For taxpayers and public servants the new territory is scary. If, as the FT has calculated, the decision to ringfence "hospitals, schools and police" (note - not the NHS, Education and the Home Office) leads to 14% cuts elsewhere then it is goodbye aircraft carriers (or hello aircraft carriers for India); goodbye F35 fighters, goodbye comprehensive elderly care; collect your own rubbish, sweep your own streets. At least there will be fewer traffic jams on the motorways because forget road maintenance as well.
A public sector pay freeze, severe headcount cuts in the back office of nearly every public service.
This is the moment people have to decide not whether they accept the scale of budget cuts, but on whether Darling's timing of them is credible, and whether they can stand being systematically denied concrete information about the cuts plans before the election.
Finally, Labour is revving up for the mother of all rhetorical swings to the left. Led by Gordon and Alistair? As Judy Garland famously announced to her dog after they'd landed in the technicolour land of Oz: Toto - We're not in Kansas anymore.