A week a long time in politics. Last Friday CON celebrating 1st YouGov lead for nearly 3 years

A week a long time in politics. Last Friday CON celebrating 1st YouGov lead for nearly 3 years

But the real sensation, as Carswell said, was UKIP getting so close in Heywood & Middleton

Clacton was in line with the polls: In Heywood UKIP beat the polls by some margin

What a night and how British politics has changed. Carswell, as seen in the Sky clip above, was hugely impressive and looks set to be a very major figure perhaps eclipsing Farage himself in the not too distant future.

But the big result came through earlier. UKIP getting so close in Heywood and Middleton – an outcome that’ll be used time and time again whenever Tories say that a vote for the purples lets in Labour. Heywood raises all sort of questions about the LAB election machine. The low turnout suggests that the red team failed to get their vote out which is serious.

What’s hard to work out is what happens next. Are we going to see other Tory MPs take the Carswell plunge and could we have a rolling series of by-elections in the run-up to next May?

    The idea that Labour was invulnerable has been smashed by the Heywood numbers. Could that add to the question marks over Miliband’s future? There’s no doubt that the Miliband-doubters have got a substantial new weapon in their hands.

My problem with the Labour leadership is identifying an alternative. I just wonder whether now could be the spring-board for Andy Burnham?

How are the Tories going to handle the new situation? Exactly a week ago the big polling news was that YouGov was showing a CON lead for the first time since early 2012. Suddenly CON prospects for GE2015 took a turn. But what now? One thing’s for sure – the Rochester by election is going to be massive. The blues simply cannot let this one go.

A big thanks to TSE. I’ve just returned from my holiday in Spain which was put back because of the IndyRef. ISE has done a great job running the site in my absence.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble

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