Anger suits David Cameron. It’s one of the modes he does well. He is skilled at contrition – his Bloody Sunday apology was the moment he became, rather than merely held the office of, prime minister – but fury is his forte. The cheeks colour, the fist pounds the lectern, the words turn plain and demotic. On Friday he channelled the voice of middle-aged men everywhere as they open a brown envelope to discover an unexpected demand for cash. “I’m not paying that bill,” he said, the face puce. “It’s not going to happen.”

The sceptical will say Cameron was play-acting, that he can’t really have been surprised by the European commission’s demand that Britain “top up” its contribution by an extra £1.7bn – to reflect the UK’s better than realised economic performance over the past two decades – and cough up by 1 December. Treasury officials have known this was in the works for months. Still, even if this was no October surprise, Cameron had to turn his facial setting to purple. He couldn’t afford to be out-angered by Nigel Farage. With the Rochester byelection looming, a Tory-Ukip showdown, the right of British politics has become an auction of rage: two parties competing to display more vein-bulging ire at Brussels. [Read more] – Michael’s Blog