Let's take stock a bit from the Conservative viewpoint.
They were forced into a bad third place in Sedgefield by the LibDems. So, David Cameron's Tories did worse there than Michael Howard's Tories at the last election. That's worth repeating - the Tories did worse under Cameron than under Michael "Don't worry - I won't hurt you" Howard. It proves again that David Cameron's brand is a turn-off in the north.
On BBC1 Breakfast, the BBC's political correspondent Robin Brandt has just beautifully summed up the Ealing Southall result for the Tories. He reminded us that, for the first time, a Conservative candidate stood under the name on the ballot paper of "David Cameron's Conservatives". The Tory vote virtually stood still, he said, improving by barely one per cent. He said, tellingly:
The Tories didn't manage to get people to come across from Labour to them, in fact they managed to get people to move across from Labour to the LibDems instead.
Just remember that Cameron personally selected Tony Lit. The stupid man, Mr Cameron, thought he knew best, better than his local members. And he chose in his own image: a rich kid, rich not through being "self-made" but by being born to a "rich daddy". Tony Lit was someone who looked elegant on the surface but had nothing under the surface. David Cameron "to a T".
And the campaign which the Conservatives ran was a superficial campaign. I called it "all mouth and trousers". Huge posters with the beautiful Mr Lit, like a Bollywood star, on them. There was one staggeringly huge poster, as big as a house, in the High Street next to the cinema in Southall. And loads of loudspeaker vans shouting at people - most were recordings of a very white/Anglo-Saxon-sounding man, lecturing loudly to the good citizens of Southall, wearing their turbans and saris.
But the stupid Tories didn't actually get people to vote for them more on the ground. There's was an air war. A pathetically misjudged campaign.
And yet in the middle of it, we had Tory campaign chief Grant Shapps, or an "assistant" on his YouTube account, writing in the guise of a LibDem supporter:
Okay, realistically we’re not going to win though. Especially since the Tories have just received 5 defecting Councillors from Labour. Don’t quite know how they’ve done it, but the Tories have stolen a march on us this time.
And we had Iain Dale hyperventilating in the middle of the campaign thus:
George Bush Senior once said that to win an election you had to have the "Big Mo". It is far too early to say the Conservatives will win this by election but few observers would deny that it is they who have had the best start. Tom Watson's campaign is disintegrating by the day.
Ah yes! That little tiffette between Dale and Watson. It's easy to see who had the last laugh there isn't it?