By George Kerevan
I was in Number 11 Downing Street the night in September 2008 when RBS and HBOS went belly up. The then Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, was cool as the proverbial cucumber. I wouldn't say he was "comatose" – to quote criticism of his performance as leader of the No campaign by an anonymous member of "the Tory high command". Rather, he was unemotional bordering on the detached. That can be useful in a crisis. Alistair is, as they say, unflappable, which is why he was one of the few frontbenchers able to put up with Gordon Brown's tantrums.