Up he stood with one prepared earlier by nitwits unknown.
Faced with prolonged Tory cheers, the ones he gets every week, he said, “Let’s see if they’re still cheering on Friday!” (Laughter)
The Rochester by-election is set to give the Tories a rollicking. That much we have known for a fortnight, all through Ed’s leadership crisis.
But it’s usually a mistake to chaff the prime minister. “I make one prediction,” he said in his easy, Eton house-room way, “the people behind me will still be cheering HIM on Friday.”
The news on Friday morning may be shocking enough to revive Labour panic. What happens if they poll 15 per cent? Tory failure has been priced in – has Labour melt-away? How will the 100-odd Labour MPs feel when their vulnerability is dramatised for them? When they look ahead to the loss of their precious seat?
Because it’s all about Ed. Presidential Ed. The teeth of the campaign. The big brain behind it. The single greatest weakness of the party is given the greatest prominence. Who thought that was a good idea?
It isn’t a confection of the right wing press: voters look at Ed and shudder.
Because, as we saw at PMQs, there is something indecent about him.
The clip of him wailing, “Wales is doing better than England on cancer care!” is worth broadcasting from Conservative HQ. It’s an election loser.
It was the rhetorical equivalent of choking on a bacon sandwich.
He hasn’t the poise, the posture of a leader. He lacks self-control. He has exerted himself to compensate for his flaws and everything he has adopted (except possibly for his suits) makes it worse.
He can’t do passion. He can’t do empathy. He has no natural manners, as people understand them.
And for all his vaunted intelligence his strategic errors have been unforced and all-encompassing.
He got Ukip wrong. He got Scotland wrong. “Too far too fast “ was wrong. His core vote strategy was wrong. He didn’t know why he wanted to lead his party other than to stop his brother. And if he polls under 20 per cent in tomorrow’s election it may be possible to glimpse the end of the Labour Party.
Say what you want, the man is historic.