There was a time when Chancellors had to resign if they leaked even the teeny weeniest detail of the Budget.
Now they appear on the Andrew Marr show.
It was significant that Osborne on Marr wasn’t keen to talk in advance about oil taxation. And revealing.
Successive Chancellors have raked in untold riches from the North Sea well over £300,000 million. Osborne and his ever compliant top mandarin at the London Treasury, Sir Nicholas Macpherson, like to pretend that this flow of wealth was all a long time ago.
But it wasn’t. In the five years to 2013-14 the Treasury were funded to the tune of £32,000 million sterling from the Scottish North Sea around £6,000 for every man, women and child in Scotland.
In 2011, Osborne seized the opportunity of high prices to mount yet another Treasury tax raid. Mind you his sidekick Danny Alexander then said that it was all his brainwave and claimed the credit.
It doesn’t look so clever now. The great tax grab of 2011 turned a boom into a bust and then back to a boom again when it was partially reversed a year later.
As a result there was a huge escalation in North Sea costs, as a surge in development spending sent costs through the roof.
So, for the short term sake of an extra few billion, Danny’s tax grab posed long-term problems that the industry is still grappling with today.
That problem has been magnified not created by the oil price fall.
There is nothing new in oil price volatility. On January 1 2007 the price of Brent crude was $57.
Eighteen months later it touched $140. Eighteen months after that it was down to $45. Last year it was back to $115.
On Friday it closed at $55.
No one knows what the price of oil is going to be in the short term. It is a much safer assumption that over the next 30 years the price will trend stronger not weaker.
Oil shocks downwards, which will always happen, are then followed by oil shock upwards.