Then, for the first time, Ming Campbell won the session. The Liberal Democrat leader has been the subject of much grumbling from his party - disloyalty has always been the Lib Dems' secret weapon - and he needed a good performance. He gave it.
He too wanted to know if there was going to be any real change. Would Mr Brown get British troops out of Iraq, look into BAE corruption, and end "the one-sided extradition treaty with the United States?"
The prime minister climbed back into his national unity suit - easy, since he and Ming are chummy. "My door is always open to you," he said graciously.
The courtesy was not reciprocated. "The prime minister's door seems more like a trap door to me," Ming snapped back. Now, that may not seem a specially dazzling wisecrack, but in parliamentary terms - and compared to Ming's earlier, faltering ripostes - it was as if Oscar himself had risen from the grave, sauntering, green carnation aloft, into the Cafe Royal with a gag that would ring down the ages. MPs were, quite literally, rolling around on the benches.