Day Two of the election campaign and we have established the difference between Tony Blair and Kim Jong Il, dictator of North Korea. Mr Kim is the "dear leader" and Mr Blair our "trusted leader".

Gordon Brown said so anyway, albeit without drawing attention to the Korean analogy. He should know. It is a matter dear to his heart and only a few weeks since he was quoted as saying the opposite.

A couple of hours later all became clear. Mr Blair sounded off about the " fantastic job" Mr Brown has done running the economy, " probably the most successful Chancellor for 100 years" and how it would be "pretty foolish" to sack him after the election.

That is what Mr Brown trusted the Prime Minister to say, possibly as a quid pro quo for something or other, and sure enough he said it - in words that will be exceedingly difficult for him to swallow on May 6.

That being so, the word eating must be done in this column. I was premature in predicting, for a second time, that we will have a new Chancellor by Christmas.

Assuming always that Labour wins this election, Mr Brown is set to keep his power base at the Treasury. Mr Blair has said he won't cling on for a fourth Parliamentary term, but it would be bizarre if he stepped down within seven months of a third victory.

The other conclusion is that Mr Brown is viscerally determined to slog on as Chancellor until the great moment comes and he makes himself Prime Minister. He really believes his own rhetoric, that the Treasury has got its sums right, that the economy will go on delivering the tax revenues he has committed himself to spend.

Well, if Mr Blair is equally sure, why on earth are we having an early election?

There is still the intriguing question of what Mr Brown - or any other Chancellor - will do about the 66 clauses stripped out of his Finance Bill before it reached Parliament yesterday. It was scandalous that an end-of-term Parliament nodded through the remaining 106 clauses in just four hours of perfunctory debate.

Many of those left out are complex forms of words intended to close what Mr Brown regards as unacceptable loopholes. One suggestion is that these are clauses that can be applied retrospectively - by a new Parliament that never heard or debated the Budget on which they are based, worse still without a new Chancellor to have second thoughts. Just like North Korea