Yes Glasgow East was a stinker of a result but to drop the pilot now would be a panic response based on what is after all a mid-term by-election. The function of these things is to give the ruling party a kicking as it’s not a government that is being picked. If you don’t believe me look here for earlier precedents.

A second un-elected PM would not look good. Complacency and fiddling while Rome burns would also be a bad move. The Economist commented, long before the result was known that it was “a hotly contested by-election that may well change nothing”. Well something does need to change but for the Labour party to lose its head over a short-term protest vote would be a mistake. Blair said on his third election victory (after by-election drubbings at the hands of the Lib Dems in Brent and Leicester) that he had listened and learned. Brown also on taking up his PM post said we were in for a listening government. Strikes me it’s time for action not words or the Ealing Southall victory party from a couple of weeks back marking Virendra Shrama’s thumpingly good by-election a year ago will be the last one of those the Labour party hosts for a while.

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