Enter Speaker Bercow, the ultimate red Tory. So rapidly has he moved from Left to Right that he may soon be whistling the Internationale while laying flowers on Karl Marx's grave. John Bercow has led a lacklustre field in calling for an upheaval of parliamentary procedure. He is the outsider, the risky choice, with some claim to be a people's Speaker.
Yet he is also a creature of the system, voted in by Labour MPs backing the man they call "The Tory" because his accession would so discomfit his party. Whether the choice of Mr Bercow is an enlightened move, or merely a poke in the eye for David Cameron, has yet to be tested.
What is clear is that the contest for Speaker has been a dramatic but ultimately unedifying affair involving tactics (not Mr Bercow's) more suggestive of greyhound-nobbling than the installation of the First Commoner of the Land.
Yet the problem lay less in the failings of the candidates than in the false hope invested in the contest. The victor was meant to symbolise and orchestrate the handing back of power to the people. Democracy would be underpinned, a constitutional crisis would be cauterised, and the words "duck island" and "milk frother" would never grace another expenses claim.