Superficially, the story in Lancashire last week was of huge Labour gains, falling just short of getting control of the county council.
Dig a bit further, however, and Labour’s result raises questions about the party’s organisational revival.
For Labour, Lancashire should be the heart of their great organisational revival. It is where Arnie Graf and others are concentrating with their new community organising model for Labour. It is where Ed Miliband made no less than three campaign visits this time.
The result of all this? Big gains, but not enough even just to undo their disaster in the county in 2009:
2001: 44 Labour seats
2005: 44 Labour seats
2009: 16 Labour seats
2013: 39 Labour seats
Compared to 2001 and 2005, that wasn’t such a triumph after all. What I’ve heard of Arnie Graf is impressive and Labour people whose views I rate in turn rate him highly. But with Lancashire being the test bed for his work and with heavy support from the central party machine thrown in, to fail to return to even 2005 levels is not an obvious triumph.