Labour did well in the by election. The top line score is a convincing Labour win on an 11% swing from the Conservatives. The Lib Dems suffered the biggest drop in their vote, followed by the Conservatives. UKIP picked up votes but ended a very poor second to Labour who were 37.4% of the votes cast clear of them, and who won an overall majority of the votes cast.
The losing parties can point out that turnout was well down on the General Election at just 28,17%. They can also compliment Labour on having a much better organised postal votes campaign than the other parties. Labour won the seat on being able to get its core vote to send in a postal ballot, just as the Lib Dems did in Eastleigh where the margin over UKIP was much narrower. They can remind people that governing parties often lose by elections on big swings, but also can go on to win the succeeding General Election.
So can we deduce anything about a future General Election from this? Not a lot. It reminds us that Labour are polling much better than in 2010. It underlines how the Eurosceptic side of the argument remains very split.
This message is reinforced by the latest poll for the European elections. That shows Labour top at just 35%, the Conservatives in second at 25% and UKIP third on 20%. This illustrates that there are quite enough Eurosceptic votes to win an election, but not all the time they remain split between two contenders. To those UKIP supporters who will now write in to deny that the Conservatives are Eurosceptic I would remind you I disagree. I would also point out if the Conservatives are not Eurosceptic then you have a lost cause, with only 20% of the voters wanting a Eurosceptic option.
For the General election the polls continue to show Labour ahead, with the Conservatives as the challengers. As we approach the election people will have to make a simple choice. Would they rather have Mr Miliband or Mr Cameron leading the country. Those who say neither can vote as they choose, but it does not look as if they will get their way.