By Sam Macrory - 6th July 2011
As open goals go, the one presented to Ed Miliband at this afternoon's prime minister's questions was of the utterly unmissable variety.
With phone-hacking allegations moving from celebrities to murder victims, commentariat rage tipping into public fury, and advertisers deserting the News of the World with rodent-esque rapidity, the Labour leader was handed the type of chance which opposition politicians are rarely given.
And then he did something rather surprising – he shifted the goalposts.
As well as the given targets of rogue journalists and potentially culpable News International executives, Miliband added in News Corp's attempted takeover of BSkyB.
In doing so, he declared war on Rupert Murdoch and his News International empire.
A defining moment? Absolutely. But historically there only tends to be one winner when Mr Murdoch enters the ring, and the outcome is never pretty.
For even if Rebekah Brooks – the former NotW editor and now News International executive – is forced to relinquish her post, Miliband has shifted his party's relationship with one the world's most powerful media moguls forever.
One of his predecessors, Neil Kinnock, was trapped inside a lightbulb for displeasing Mr Murdoch; that will seem like luxury if Miliband fails to emerge intact from this contest.
It all started so slowly, so sombrely, so constructively.
Miliband asked for an independent inquiry into the scandal and David Cameron said yes, he agreed, perhaps even to more than one.
On a normal week that counts as a win for the leader of the opposition, and Cameron clearly wanted to end the discussion there.
Let's work together on this one and we can sort it out quietly – once the police have finished their own work, he urged, moving precariously on to the back foot.
And as the Labour leader laid out the terms of the proposed inquiry, the prime minister began to wobble.
Momentum was shifting - and then came the goalpost rearranging.
Miliband called for a pause in NewsCorp's proposed take over of BSkyB.
Cameron insisted the process was a separate issue and above board.
Miliband dismissed him as "out of touch" with public opinion, before adding rather sharply – don't forget that Brooks enjoyed a convivial Christmas date with the Camerons last year – that he knew this was "difficult" for the prime minister.
With little room to manoeuvre of his own, Cameron cried u-turn, and desperately tried to keep phone-hacking and the BSky takeover as far apart as possible.
But Miliband, dismissing the PM's use of "technicalities", was throwing both eggs firmly into one basket.
George Osborne laughed, nervously. The eggs in the basket were fast becoming eggs on Tory faces.
Would the PM call on Rebekah Brooks to stand down, Miliband continued, piling the misery on an ever-reddening prime minister.
Cameron refused to give the question much of answer, sticking to a general need for everyone to take responsibility. It didn't sound convincing.
Foundations laid, position as champion of the people secured, Miliband threw out the final, impossible, accusation at a prime minister who was now looking - and this is a collector's item - just a little vulnerable.
"He must accept that he made a catastrophic error of judgment by appointing Andy Coulson into the heart of Downing Street," Ed declared, dragging the PM's former communications chief - and NotW editor - into an increasingly grubby picture.
Huge Labour cheers – Chris Bryant nearly exploded at this point – from one side; stony-faced Conservatives on the other.
Baffled-looking Lib Dems somewhere in between.
Cameron insisted he took responsibility for everyone he employed, but Coulson, with his insider knowledge of Number 10, is not someone he will want to upset.
Rather like Brooks and Murdoch then.
For Ed Miliband, it is too late for that. His open goal has become a very big target indeed.
Miss it or hit it, today he briefly soared as the shackles of nearly a decade-and-a-half of Labour's bowing and scraping at the court of Murdoch were removed.
If he falls, the crash is likely to prove terminal.
Sam Macrory is political editor of The House Magazine.