The blame game
It is, I suppose, a familiar political tactic.
It was deployed by Labour, with some justification, during the controversy over the Gould Report into the Scottish elections.
Today that same tactic was deployed by the Prime Minister - with rather more questionable justification - as he faced a sustained challenge in the Commons over the improper donations to his party.
The tactic? Spread the blame.
Suggest that a problem is shared across the political divide and requires a consensual, cross-party solution.
David Cameron, backed up by a succession of Tory MPs, sought to pin the blame for the funding controversy directly upon Gordon Brown.
Ascending to a scheduled but understandable crescendo, Mr Cameron inquired whether the PM was “cut out for the job”.
In response, Mr Brown repeatedly sought to argue that there should be a shared interest in cleaning up party donations.
All parties, he stated, should pursue this objective.
It was a good try - and even warmed up the Labour benches when Mr Brown recalled the early actions of his premiership in tackling terrorism, flooding and foot-and-mouth.
Oh, happy days, you could see him thinking.
But was it good enough? Not for Vince Cable, the stand-in LibDem leader, who depicted Mr Brown’s reputation as shifting “from Stalin to Mr Bean”.
How they laughed - with, of course, the exception of the notably glum Labour benches.
A few minutes earlier, as forecast here yesterday, opposition MPs had contrived to raise the donations issue during questions to the Scottish Secretary Des Browne.
Angus Robertson, who led the SNP campaign for the Holyrood elections, sought an assurance over whether any of the David Abrahams cash had found its way into Labour’s Scottish election effort.
Des Browne is a cautious politician - and an advocate. He gave a cautious reply. He could give such an assurance “in my state of knowledge”.