Well, in the round at least, not to many surprises from Mr Darling. A bit of encouragement for savers by increasing the contributions limits for ISAs, the usual hit on 'sin taxes', so far so dull.
I'll pick on three aspects that indicate what this budget says in political terms.
1. Increasing the proposed 45% rate to 50% and introducing it a year earlier.
Alistair has clearly taken on board the criticism that a 45% rate would raise precious little. I'm not convinced that he'll raise much more, as those likely to be affected are also likely to be better equipped to avoid it. There will also be those who feel encouraged to take their skills elsewhere. I'm not suggesting that the threat of an exodus of the best and brightest should cause a Government from refrain from setting tax rates that satisfy the needs of the state, but the impact of such behaviour should be factored in when calculating future tax revenues. Besides, Andrew Lloyd Webber never did leave the country, did he...
2. Withdrawing personal allowances for those earning above £150,000 per annum.
Again, a punitive measure affecting a comparatively small number of presumably Conservative-leaning voters. If a 50% tax rate wasn't enough, let's hit the wealthy a little harder.
3. Restricting relief on personal pension contributions to the basic rate for taxpayers earning over £150,000 per annum.
Alistair here attempts to steal a pretty good idea from the Liberal Democrats but, in typical Labour fashion, messes it up. The fact that this doesn't come in until next year is an encouragement to taxpayers to frontload their contributions, but he's thought of that. No, with immediate effect, those making large contributions to gain relief now will be prevented from doing so.
The problem with this is that it is far from unusual for the self-employed to make lump sum pension contributions. Are they trying to beat the system, or behaving in a manner similar to past years? And who decides?
I've got to say that, if you're bringing in £150,000 per annum, this is a pretty vicious budget. However, in politics terms, those who envy the wealthy their good fortune will be gratified, so it will probably solidify the Labour base. That doesn't make it a good budget though...