Apologies for mentioning the Financial Secretary in the same sentence as a Bear of Very Little Brain. Absolutely no comparison intended. It's just that as the years go on, it does seem as if Donald Tsang devised his pre-Budget strategy from the pages of Winnie the Pooh. Remember the story of the stormy day? 'Suppose that tree fell on us,' said Piglet as they walked beneath it in a gale. 'Suppose it didn't,' replied Pooh, after much thought. Mr Tsang has encouraged us to contemplate the economic tree crashing down on the populace since the turn of the year. A shrinking tax base, structural defects, threats to the social welfare programme . . . you can almost hear the sound of roots cracking underfoot. Then suddenly there he is in the chamber, beaming benignly, having his back slapped and his hand shaken by clusters of legislators and policy secretaries who seem in a positive party mood. Sporting a larger than usual bow tie in a shade of sun-rise gold, he went upstairs to kiss wife Selina, sitting in her usual place in the public gallery, while cheers echoed from all sides of the house. Could this jaunty atmosphere really be the curtain-raiser to a basket of tax increases? Of course not. When he stands at the lectern, Mr Tsang is warning that we're not out of the woods yet, but he has moved over to 'suppose it didn't' mode. It is windfalls he talks about now. Prospects better than he dared hope, millions saved through increased productivity, fewer claims for CSSA, expenditure billions less than forecast. After an hour of similar statistics, one august visitor in the gallery is sufficiently reassured to nod off. He had a rude awakening when a protester from the row behind leapt screaming to her feet. But Mr Tsang didn't seem put out. Perhaps he was thinking there would have been a lot more of that treatment if he had planned any tax increases. And as we all now know, he hadn't. The recovery is too fragile for harsh measures, he said, reminding us of his formula; stimulus packages in bad times, letting the economy run along unimpeded now that things are picking up. But a sales tax and other levies are still in the offing. It may be mere coincidence that he called this year's Budget 'Scaling New Heights'. To Pooh fans it recalls the tale of Tigger, who climbed to the top of the tree but couldn't get down again. So don't be surprised at the end of the year if the bow-tied one warns us the economy is stuck up a gum tree. Just bear in mind that with his skills, he'll probably inch along a bough to step safely on to a window-ledge.