The Retreat from Southall
Mr Dale appears to have heeded my words earlier this week about depressing expectations of victory. Second place will be a victory now, apparently. Strange, I thought we had a First-Past-the-Post election system.
I was also under the impression that the Tories believed Cameron was the Tory Blair, and the next election would be the Tory 1997. But whatever the outcome tomorrow, it looks unlikely to be similar to Labour's by-election gains of 1992-1997, which heralded the 1997 win:
Dudley West - Con to Lab swing of 29%, Lab maj of over 20,000 in a former Tory seat
SE Staffs - Con to Lab swing of 22%, Lab maj of nearly 14,000 in a former Tory seat
Wirral South - Con to Lab swing of 17%, Lab maj of nearly 8,000 in a former Tory seat
I can't remember any by-election in that parliament where there was the slightest doubt that the then government would lose the seat. The question was always how badly the Tories would be humiliated. This is not the scenario Labour are in now.