Alistair Darling sets out the Government’s latest ideas on bank regulation today, so will no doubt be all over the media for the next few hours.
The Chancellor always gives the impression of being a rather reluctant media figure. The furore around his interview with the Guardian last August probably didn’t help. In a wide-ranging profile by Decca Aitkenhead, Mr Darling described the economic times as the worst for 60 years, attracting a barrage of criticism. But he turned out to be pretty much on the mark.
As an editorial in the same paper a couple of days later pointed out, the full Aitkenhead interview gave an insight into "a politician of unusual integrity, dry humour, and sober intelligence". Having worked with Mr Darling when he was Secretary of State for Social Security, I can only endorse that view. And whenever I speak to colleagues from that time, we all seem to agree that we find ourselves defending the Chancellor in similar terms whenever his name crops up amidst the current crisis. He is, we generally agree, a "top bloke".
So it was interesting to read these comments in Sunday’s Observer from Matthew D’Ancona – not, one would have thought, instinctively a fan.