When the chairman of the 1922 Committee writes an op-ed piece giving the Chancellor some handy hints just a month ahead of the budget, you know he's not doing so because he knows the Chancellor has already taken the advice; that's a complete no-no. Chancellors must be allowed by their own backbench chairmen to take the credit for tax cuts and other good ideas.
So Brady thinks that Osborne needs the advice. So do I, but I can't think for a moment he'll take it, as he has always belittled 'unfunded tax cuts', as though Art Laffer had never existed, let alone proved the theory.
I think that the Tories are quite close to losing faith with Osborne. The same, one supposes, was true of Cameron, until with one great bound, he was free. But whereas Dave had the luxury of promising an EU referendum after an election he is unlikely to win, George has the pressing problem of an economy which must be kick-started NOW. It seems to me to be a self-evident truth that lower taxes for the lower and middle classes puts more discretionary spending pounds in pockets. If spent, GDP rises, as do tax revenues. To deny this is to deny the British electorate the fundamental choice that they require, between the Labour way of running an economy, and a Conservative way.
At the moment, Osborne is outflanked even by the ludicrous Ed Balls, who wants an immediate VAT rate cut. (Ignore the 10p Band nonsense - much better to raise the tax free threshold, which the Coalition is at least doing).
Cameron, like Blair before him, appears not to have much of a grip of economics (though his instincts seem broadly sound). Osborne therefore has the run of the economy, with Danny Alexander sitting upon his shoulder and Vince Cable hissing some none-too-subtle stage whisper prompts from the wings.
The Tory backbenchers have little choice but to stay subdued on Dave's leadership now that the European question is more or less addressed. But they would have no qualms bringing the pusillanimous Chancellor down, if necessary. This was Brady marking Osborne's card.