What would it take for David Cameron to sack someone? Breaking the NHS isn't enough. Working so closely with Murdoch that Britain looks like a banana republic doesn't do it. Perhaps if a Cabinet minister burst into the prime minister's office and swiped their privates on his shins? There must some level, some red line, which triggers his executive decision-making. For the time being, Flashman Cameron is all bark and no bite.
Andrew Mitchell somehow survived the week. His continued presence damages the government every day, by verifying the precise rhetorical attack Labour uses against the Tories: that they are a bunch of cruel, upper class monsters. His account of what happened outside Downing Street changes on a daily basis. First he insisted he didn't say 'pleb', but acknowledged he swore. This week, he mouthed "I didn't swear" at Miliband in the Commons, raising eyebrows all the way to the roof. He even threw an auxiliary scandal into the mix by reversing aid cuts to Rwanda. Presumably it’s some sort of fail-safe self-destruct mechanism, like the Predator tapping on his wristband while laughing at Arnie.
Still the PM fails to sack him. At the start of his time in Downing Street, Cameron was praised for his loyalty to under-siege ministers. The Mitchell scandal is where he finally jumped the shark. It now looks like weakness. It allows Labour to accuse him of 'dithering', a potentially fatal association.
The opposition can't believe its luck. Miliband made mincemeat of the Tory front bench during the political season's first PMQs. Cameron performed well, but as usual things spiralled out of control.
First he refused to answer questions from Chris Bryant, a PMQs strategy no previous leader had thought of before. Next week he will presumably stick his fingers in his ears and sing 'la-la-la'. On Friday he sent an astonighingly catty response to Harriet Harman about the row.
He also announced – seemingly on the spur of the moment – an energy policy with significant political and commercial implications. His ministers had no idea what it was, or hated it, or just hid from the cameras under the bed. Labour, which didn't think of it first, hated it. And the energy companies prepared their lawyers. Another day, another spectacular Cameron cock-up. The funny part is they always told us the Tories were competent. Cruel but competent: that was the election slogan. Someone should call the Advertising Standards Authority.
The prime minister wasn't the only loser this week. Nick Griffin – fresh from the departure of most of his party members – proceeded to lose the only other MEP in the BNP. It sounds like a Little Britain sketch, and it is not much less pathetic. Later in the week he tried to boost his publicity by publically arranging a mob to go round a gay couple's house and show them "some drama" after they won a legal case. Twitter went after him, then the police.
'Fascist, meet plod' is still one of the most satisfying sentences in politics. Reassuringly, Griffin continues to look like the villain in a modern day fairy tale.
Alex Salmond also had a bad week, which he couldn't possibly have expected when he signed a historic agreement on a referendum with Cameron on Monday. His party decided it wasn't all that up for gay marriage after all. And it's pretty unsure about Nato. And even if it was sure about Nato, it's definitely against nukes. Which means Nato might not be so keen on an independent Scotland. And that means it might have to rely on British support. And that, it hardly needs saying, would be bad. Oh, and the polls show Salmond's popularity plummeting and support for the union rising. Bad tidings for the separatists.
One man had a good week: George Osborne. It's been several months since he had a good week. There was the general election, obviously, and that speech about inheritance tax. And then that alleged night with the alleged prostitute and the alleged cocaine. The chancellor had a spring in his step because Britain has record-breaking employment levels and inflation is falling. What does it mean? Nothing. Long-term and youth unemployment are brutal, with all the economic and social consequences that entails. Underemployment – the number of people who want or need full-time work but have to settle for less – is also a secret scandal. As for inflation, that'll be going back up again in the near future.
But he had a good week. George Osborne had a good week. All over the world, doves dropped from the skies, their tiny hearts beating their last.
Update: The second this story was published, George Osborne was charged £160 for sitting in a first class rail carriage with a second class ticket.
Update 2: Andrew Mitchell resigned about half an hour after that. There's a lesson in here somewhere....