Winston Churchill once rejected a pudding on the grounds that it had no theme. I know it's a cliché but I have been listening to the Chancellor and the leader of the Opposition and it is infectious.
I am not quite clear whether this Budget has an overall theme. Lots of bits and pieces, many of them positive and some neutral, squillions of figures, double-digit prudence and some sentences of quite impenetrable construction.
The whole Budget process is looking increasingly overblown, especially when so many announcements look ahead to further announcements or consultations.
Many elements of the speech could have been the subject of individual announcements where the specifics of the policy would have been better explained and contextualised. Ritual is fine but it can get in the way of good explanation and debate.
Some of the policy can be welcomed. It is about time that the elderly with modest savings did not find themselves penalised for their prudence (that word is catching) by the benefits' structure. A continuation of the £7,000 Isa ceiling gives the impression of a Chancellor keen on saving, if only for a year. Nothing on securities' stamp duty, whose abolition I successfully lobbied for in 1990 but which never came about because it was conditional on the success of the Taurus project, the stockmarkets' settlement project which never worked.
Personally, I welcome the boost for charitable giving. Professionally, I doubt if IFAs will either make their fortune or go bust as a consequence of this Budget. Perhaps that is the best outcome.
I am as suspicious of boom and bust as the Chancellor. As a Parliament watcher, I recommend looking at the body language on the respective front benches. Beats listening to the speeches.