This year has seen a number of occasions when Labour has left a huge open goal-mouth into which a very large ball could easily have been inserted. One thinks of the RN Hostages in Iran humiliation when part-time Defence Secretary Des Browne was let off pretty well unmolested.

The present failure of the government to lift a finger to sort out the damage and chaos caused by the floods in Yorkshire and elsewhere is another example. Here Brown, Blears and others are having their Hurricane Katrina moment but one has yet to see a Tory heavyweight up there asking awkward questions, pointing the finger and generally taking advantage of yet another cock-up by The Nincompoops. Thus the BBC’s report today on its news web site is able to report on Brown’s belated pledges to help in a way that is is legitimately able to be Tory-free because there does not appear to be any Tory talking about it.

No wonder huge swathes of the North are Tory-free. The Huntsman sometimes despairs that we seem to have forgotten the art of opposition.

Perhaps Mr. David Cameron might like to abjure his pledge to abandon ‘Punch & Judy’ politics and get the troops out there expressing some well-founded righteous indignation at all this incompetence for a change.