Lost deposit, same vote as at the general election and a fourth place: what to make of the Liberal Democrat result in Oldham West and Royton?
Another way of looking at it is that unlike a long-run of previous by-elections, this is one where the Liberal Democrat vote did not get squeezed even further, one where the Lib Dems finished comfortably ahead of the Greens and a joke candidate, and one which saw many new members help a good candidate and team.
That isn’t enough even to make the glass half-full, but at least it is a case of an intact glass with a little water in it, unlike the previous by-elections which have been more like a broken glass and no water in sight. [Ed.: Enough of the glass metaphor.]
It is also a reminder of two important features of this Parliament for the Liberal Democrats. First, there is no automatic bounceback in support. It has to be earned. Second, our core vote is precariously low in many places. To be a functioning, effective national party we need a much higher core vote. On which subject…