After spending the last three weeks in darkest Arslikkan, Iain Dale has woken up. After quoting a Grant Shapps press release which performs some remarkable limbo dancing with reality, Dale comments:
The words straws and clutching come to mind. I genuinely thought the Conservatives would come a good second here, but let's not pretend this was a satisfactory result. It patently was not. But Grant is also right to point out the LibDem failure to get their by election bandwagon rolling here.
Questions will and should be asked about various aspects of the campaign, not least the candidate, whether the tactics were local enough and if all the literature was appropriate. These are questions which should be asked after any election.
Although this is not natural Tory territory most observers would reckon that in the middle of the third term of a Labour government the party ought to be able to increase its vote share by more than 0.9 per cent. We need to understand why this didn't happen.
After all the 1234 business etc, the words "shreds", "credibility", "rescued", "from","the" and "ashes" spring to mind.
However, Tim Footman comments on Iain's site:
'Not natural Tory territory' is a cop-out. Why isn't it natural? Too many people from ethnic minorities? Too many poor people? If so, does this presume that people from these groups won't vote Tory? So much for Dave's big tent.
The rest of the comments are worth reading for a laugh.
PS. The LibDems did get a bandwagon rolling to the extent of getting a 5.4% swing to them. In just three weeks it is difficult to do more than that. Shapps quoted the year 1989 saying the LibDems have won from second place in every case since then - well I know in detail of two of the by-elections we won since then - Newbury and Christchurch - and we had far longer than three weeks for the campaign in both of those cases. For example, in Newbury, Judith Chaplin MP died in February, but the by-election wasn't held until May.