The blood pressure was already primed at boiling point in the chamber today, as PMQs followed a fiery debate about all things Scottish with Scotland secretary, Michael Moore.
Cameron was glowing his signature tartan-red hue before he'd even started.
And mimicking dour yet quietly confident Scot du jour, Andy Murray, Ed Miliband opened with a rather sulky, downbeat criticism of the shortcomings of otherwise positive unemployment figures, asking if the PM agreed with him that 904,000 people out of work for longer than a year is a “particularly troubling statistic.”
He also muttered that Cameron’s Work Programme “isn’t working” – an ironic twist of the old ‘Labour isn’t working’ adage. Hijacking Tory propaganda. I wonder if he noticed.
Rather unhelpfully, the PM implored that we all start looking at “youth employment figures” rather than youth unemployment figures. This so-called “complacency” lit the increasingly familiar fire in Ed, who spat back at the opposite bench that there was “too much borrowing”, and that in the past four months, the rate would work out at “1.6 million pounds in an hour of PMQs”.
No one sounded very happy about this, apart from Ed Balls who grinned away, clearly pleased with himself for working that one out on his calculator 20 minutes ago.
Cameron dodged this with mockery of Ed’s favourite neologism of the week, ‘predistribution’, pinpointing the hilarity of its “guru” being called J Hacker. Tory cackling ensued. As a political entity, they are generally suspicious of neologisms. They still think ‘Lib Dem’ is one.
Arguably, Cameron’s use of the very modern ‘guru’ was more questionable
Ed snapped back to this shiny new criticism with an old chestnut – “will he [the PM] benefit from the 50% tax cut?”
And order was restored.
Similarly as predictable attacks aimed at Cameron involved his apparent sidelining of female figures in government.
Chris Bryant MP deplored the nine departments without a single woman minister – and pointed out that hidden within the unemployment figures was an increase in female redundancies. Ed jumped on his reshuffle of female secretaries of state – Caroline Spelman "sacked because she was too old”, and replaced by a man who was even older.
But butch Cameron can rest assured that he has done enough to empower women in parliament. As he was keen to point out, today Big Ben’s tower has been renamed Elizabeth Tower.