A good debut at Prime Minister's Questions is not essential for a leader of the opposition. But it certainly helps. And Ed Miliband will have been very pleased by yesterday's performance.
The new Labour leader produced a memorable line – "I might be new to this game but I think I ask the questions" – in response to David Cameron's evasions. And there was a rather good joke about the Prime Minister wishing that the shambolic Conservative conference had been disrupted by a BBC strike. By comparison, Mr Cameron's attack line "it's not Red, it's Brown" was yawn-inducing. Mr Miliband outperformed expectations and Mr Cameron fell short. Those Conservatives who celebrated when Mr Miliband beat his brother in the leadership election will have been given pause by yesterday's battle.
PMQs has its critics. There are those who say that the weekly joust encapsulates the worst of the aggressive nature of Westminster. Yet, at its best, PMQs can be an electrifying forum for the clashing of political forces – and one that is rare in the democratic world. So here's looking forward to many more Cameron-Miliband battles over the despatch boxes. Round one, though, to the "red" corner.