HAPPY birthday Keir Starmer! Boris Johnson has a special card for you, with a lovely personalised message written inside. It says: “Congratulations on supporting an IRA-condoning politician who wanted to get out of Nato!”

He’s probably also had a cake prepared with “School is Safe” iced on top. But would birthday boy Captain Hindsight be willing to eat it, given how bloody negative he is about everything?

“He’s governing in hindsight – that’s why he’s making so many mistakes,” shoots back Starmer with the satisfaction of a man who’s had six weeks to prepare the perfect retort to this feeble nickname.

The leader of the opposition has also had time to compile a dossier of scathing comments from the PM’s own side about his abysmal performance. He will surely be wishing for many happy returns of this day, as a rattled Johnson goes

so wildly off-piste in an attempt to dodge his questions that the Speaker has to blast him back onto his bench.

“ORDER!” he shouts, reminding Johnson that he’s supposed to be answering questions, not indulging in rambling rants about his opponent.

Refusing to be telt, the Prime Minister responds with backchat and is propelled back onto his bottom once again. Perhaps it is he who should be going back to school, to learn some discipline.

Starmer is absolutely fizzing, and would like to remind everyone that he spent years prosecuting terrorists in Northern Ireland. Will Johnson withdraw his remark? Will he hell! “I asked him to do the decent thing,” snapped the Labour leader, “but doing the decent thing and this PM don’t go together.”

However, Starmer would do well to remind himself that this is about putting questions to the Prime Minister, not rising to any bait he might serve up to deflect attention from the hard truths being spoken behind his back.

Does he really imagine that anyone watching will believe he personally supports the IRA, or is desperate to hear his personal assurances about the odds of virus transmission in the classroom?

Johnson might believe a magical mantra is effective as a coronavirus vaccine, but don’t forget that he also believed shaking hands in hospitals was a jolly good plan.

With 12 government U-turns to highlight (eight if you ask Ian Blackford, who is perhaps deducting any the Scottish Government also executed), Starmer has a big backlog of ammunition to get through, but it’s the imminent end of the furlough scheme that’s concerning the majority of the other members asking questions.

Johnson fires back that his kick-start scheme is better than “indefinite” furlough, as if these are the only two options and refuses to be drawn on whether he considers redundancies and rocketing unemployment a price worth paying for ending the scheme and instructing everyone to get back to business. Perhaps he should take a leaf out of his own book and stop behaving like a PM whose critical faculties and self-restraint have been indefinitely furloughed.

He can try to spin Starmer’s questioning about school results as a vote of no confidence in pupils, but no-one is buying it. He can respond to Blackford and others by talking of workers “languishing on furlough”, but we all know that no amount of bombastic talk about getting back to work will bring business back to full strength by Christmas.

He certainly has a cheek to accuse others of “sniping”. Backed into a corner over his handling of the pandemic, the Bullingdon bully is showing his true colours.