Preparing for a deficit. The worst thing about political promises is having to explain to people why they are broken. Hence all the bad luck talk by Labor ministers in the run-up to this budget. All those promises about bringing the budget back to surplus that went on for a couple of years up until four months ago are well and truly haunting the government now. And it is impossible to imagine h0w, with all the spinning in the world, that the budget projections can be dollied up to look like vote winners.

Which makes the picture presented by the opinion polls a very gloomy one. With just five months to go to September 14 I'm starting to take notice of them at last, and with Newspoll this morning seeming to be in line with my favourite Essentialif I were in a marginal Labor seat I really would be panicking.