IAN Blackford had clearly had his porridge yesterday! And if his blood wasn’t already boiling when he arrived at the House of Commons for PMQs, it certainly was by the time he’d sat through the first 10 minutes of evasion and distortion.

Keir Starmer wanted to know why the Prime Minister was one minute saying that Test & Trace was vital to containing the spread of Covid-19 and the next minute saying it had little or nothing to do with it. Boris Johnson sat frowning and shaking his head in disagreement – presumably disagreement with himself. But was he disagreeing with how own words from three months ago, or his own words from last week?

We will, of course, never know, because that would require him to answer a question. Starmer valiently pressed on, asking which excuse would be provided this week for the Test & Trace failures, and Johnson explained to him that the virus spreads through human contact. It’s like asking “what’s for tea?” and being told the capital of France. Or asking “why can’t he just answer the bloody question?” and being told cheese.

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Blackford is wise to this absolute nonsense, so delivered his question in the form of an almighty scolding. He reeled off stark warnings about job losses and lorry queues, warned “another winter of discontent” was coming, contrasted Nicola Sturgeon’s leadership with the Prime Minister’s pitiful efforts, and demanded to know if the furlough scheme would be extended in light of the new measures announced on Tuesday evening, to protect the 61,000 jobs at risk in Scotland. Boom.

The Prime Minister might talk about his government cooking up “creative and imaginative schemes” – but the real scheme is painting the opposition as extremists so that if he does more or less what they demand – by extending furlough in one form or another – he can deny they’ve scored a victory, and present his position as moderate, rational and proportionate.

“I notice that the leader of the Scottish Nationalist (sic) Party and the leader of the opposition now support an indefinite extension of the furlough scheme,” he said with an entirely straight face. If synchronised head-shaking could kill, he would have promptly been rushed out of the chamber on a stretcher. The PM then repeated his threat to “put his arms around the people of this country.”

“It’s not indefinite. Nobody – nobody, Prime Minister – has asked for that,” Blackford thundered back, setting the record straight before the Tories start re-writing history. But this was merely his warm-up. The alternative to extending furlough is putting 61,000 jobs in Scotland at risk, he said, and those people need action, not warm words. “Prime Minister, I can tell you, the last thing those 61,000 Scots are looking for is a hug from you.” Savage! More of this, please.