Update: 11th Dec 9am (GMT): now things become a little clearer. The piss-take I mentioned above was Brown's idea (and Balls).
"I think the Labour Party should be haunted for a decade by what we saw yesterday in terms of irresponsibility, basic deceit and complete lack of moral principle"
And the "tax on jobs" charge levelled at Darling by George Osborne is relevant not only because it could cause job losses but also because only working people pay National Insurance (NI). Increased NI would usually hit middle and even low income earners harder than "the rich". Conversely, everyone pays VAT and would usually hit those with most money to spend i.e. the rich - although I could be wrong. Blimey, it must be bad, even the BBC are headlining it. [Link]
"Alistair Darling wanted to impose a VAT rise above 17.5% in his pre-budget report to raise extra revenue but was persuaded by Gordon Brown to opt for an increase in national insurance instead"