After the joint effort from Young Dave and his spinner Craig Oliver failed miserably, and the broadcasters - that would be all of them - declined to blink, our brave and fearless Prime Minister was left with nowhere to go, and the prospect of the Have I Got News For You “Tub Of Lard” being extracted from the prop store and used to stand in for him. It was the Tories’ own fault. So of course someone else had to be blamed.
But who could 10 Downing Street dump on? After all, the broadcasters had acted in concert. But down the road at Victoria, the Telegraph, underscoring its sad and inevitable decline from paper of record to over-sized tabloid, had the headline already written. It was the hated BBC Wot Done It. “TV election debates: Tories go to war over BBC's 'institutional arrogance’” declared the headline. Wait, what?
[UPDATE 1625 hours: also queuing up to show that its credibility is bust is the Super Soaraway Currant Bun, whose editorial today also suggests that the hated BBC is the culprit for the broadcasters' collective decision not to allow Craig Oliver to piss them about.
Under the headline "Behave, Beeb" - as if how the Corporation behaves is down to the sister paper of the now-defunct Screws - readers are told "THE BBC claims to be dedicated to public service ... But the high-handed arrogance it and the other broadcasters have shown over the proposed election debates is a disgrace and is making a mockery of their duty to the public ... Nothing but the broadcasters' own pride is stopping them from acting on David Cameron's proposal to have a debate a couple of weeks earlier than planned ... they are so full of their own importance that they are willing to empty chair the PM before the election campaign just to show him who is boss ... They should remember that their first duty is to serve the public".
And, as Jon Stewart might have said, two things here. One, the broadcasters' "duty to the public" extends to resisting attempts by politicians to manipulate the TV Debates to their own advantage, and two, those broadcasters all agreed not to cave in to Dave.
That means their number included Sky News. Interestingly, the Sun doesn't mention the S-word. Why should that be? Could it, as Private Eye might have put it, because Sky News and the Sun are in some way related? I think we should be told]