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Page last updated at 10:14 GMT, Friday, 14 November 2008

The country's Darling..?

Jon Sopel
Jon Sopel
The Politics Show

Hello again...

So, you've spent your whole political career eschewing the limelight, basking in anonymity and judging success by the degree to which you keep your government department OUT of the headlines when along comes the mother of all global financial crises, and you are pitched right into the middle of it at the Treasury.

Alistair Darling

Cometh the hour, cometh, err... Alastair Darling.

And though, when it all started going a little pear shaped, he may have looked as if he were a rabbit caught in the headlights - since then the Chancellor has been a good deal more deft.

So much so that the rescue plan adopted first by this government to deal with the banking crisis, is now being widely copied around the world.

Quiet times these aren't.

Let's just look at the next 10 days. Mr Darling will be an active participant in the G20 summit taking place in Washington this weekend, before returning to London to mull over the pre-budget report: a financial statement - surely - as important as any Chancellor has delivered in a generation or longer.

And on Sunday - a big date in the diary this for him - fresh (though never quite as fresh as those ads would have you believe) off the plane from the States - Alastair Darling will be in the studio with us.

Vince Cable
Award winning words from the opposition benches

What's in store for all of us as the British economy slithers unstoppably into recession?

We'll also be talking to Vince Cable who has just been named, by the Spectator magazine, Parliamentarian of the Year.

Although, frankly the award might as well have been given by Clairvoyants Monthly - for if anyone has shown an unnerving, almost spooky, ability to peer into the future it is the Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesman.

Smoke gets in your eyes...

Illustration mock-up cigarette packets display some of the graphic picture warnings which will feature on packets in the future.
Some gentle persuasion to help the decision making process...

Love it or hate it, the ban on smoking in many public places stands as a rebuke to those who say that politics never changes anything.

But the government is not resting there - it's preparing to respond to its own consultation on further ways to stop people smoking.

Some of the ideas that have already been floated include banning the sale of packs of ten, and forcing cigarette makers to adopt plain - or "vanilla" in the jargon - packaging.

Ann Widdecombe
Just what is the reality?

Can anything more be done to help us kick the habit? Giles Dilnot will be reading the smoke signals.

And Sunday sees the new series of "I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here".

Not something we'd usually mark on the Politics Show, but with two former politicians among its line up, I'll be talking to Ann Widdecombe MP, doyenne of Celebrity Fit Club, about the snakes and ladders of politicians on reality TV.

That's all at 12 noon on Sunday - bring your calculator.

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