Without desisting from anything I wrote earlier - the Blairites and Fleet Street would still find a reason for forcing a contest even if Gordon Brown was revealed as the second Son of God - today's Budget was a stormer. For years, governments of right and left have dreamed of a 20p standard rate of income tax. It is Gordon Brown who has finally delivered that and for that and many other reasons he will go down as the greatest Chancellor since Gladstone, whatever happens next in his career.
It was absolutely typical of Gordon that after presenting eleven Budgets himself he went and stole the next Chancellor's first Budget as well by announcing the 2p standard rate cut. His successor probably won't thank him for that but I can't help but admire his chutzpah.
Charles Clarke and Alan Milburn had been calling on Brown to say more about what he would do as Prime Minister, and today Gordon gave them the perfect answer. He not only said what he would do, he actually did it, by pre-announcing a decision that didn't actually need to be announced for another year.
Indeed, he has gone even further than that and announced another major tax cut to take effect in April 2009 - just before the likely date of the next general election - rsising the threshold for the 40p top rate of tax to £43,000 and so free millions of middle-income earners from the pernicious effects of "fiscal drag."
David Cameron tried to make the best of it by claiming Brown had adopted his agenda of "sharing the proceeds of growth," but Cameron knows that he too has been stuffed, and that any room for manoeuvre for further crowd-pleasing tax cuts has been absolutely closed-off.
I wrote earlier today that although Brown's enemies will deny him a coronation, the crown remains his to lose and a good Budget performance would make it all the more certain he would win a serious contest. On that score, the Chancellor certainly delivered.