Well done to the Crewe and Nantwich team for avoiding the "London Nutcracker" - the sort of two party squeeze we saw in London on May 1st. - and achieving a 7.1% swing from Labour which points towards wins for the LibDems off Labour in a general election.
I am very grateful to Darrell on Moments of Clarity for passing on this hilarity from Eric "Branston" Pickles:
in order to get Liberal Democrat policies people were realising they had to vote Conservative
Interesting. The one tax policy Cameron has is to give a tax cut to millionaires. And last week we saw Tory MPs trooping through the lobbies to vote, en masse, consistently for socially regressive policies. It is flattering that Branston thinks people want our policies, but it takes a very warped mind to imagine that the Conservatives will deliver them.
Talking of Nutcrackers. Gordon Brown is 56.
Update: Chris Rennard has written to supporters saying:
Our campaign was a magnificent effort, with a superb candidate in Elizabeth and only a very short campaign in which to put our case.
We can be very proud of Elizabeth, our campaign and the inspiration provided by Nick Clegg
In previous by-elections where we've been main challengers, the party in third place has frequently been badly squeezed, even losing its deposit on occasions. But although we started in third this time, our vote was robust. Indeed, had we begun as main challengers, I believe we would have won.
In any event, the vote was very much an anti-Labour Government vote, and in particular a vote against the 10p tax fiasco.
The swing from Labour to the Liberal Democrats is a clear pointer to significant Parliamentary gains at the next general election.