'David Davis, George Osborne, Iain Dale, John Redwood, David Cameron - can you hear me David Cameron? Your boys took one hell of a beating... one hell of a beating...'
Defeat for the Tories in council by-elections in Worcester and right here in Birmingham, plus a Lib Dem loss in Nuneaton as well. Oh happy day.
I'm always reluctant to put too much onto any one by-election victory, as these campaigns can turn on peculiar local issues and are always affected by low turnouts. This time round, the Labour vote held up remarkably well, losing just 400 votes on the May elections, while the Tories haemorrhaged 1000 votes in a few months. It might indicate a dissatisfaction in the Tory ranks for Cameron - or just a poor ground campaign by Whitless' boys. It could also indicate that Ken Hardeman's personal vote - which can come from non-traditional supporters - was stronger than thought.
Distressingly for the local Lib Dems, who did campaign a little - just enough to keep the flag flying and honour satisfied, but not enough to affect their best mates in the Tory party - their vote collapsed by around two thirds and they dropped into third place behind the BNP, whose own vote had halved. All that in the week of the Lib Dem conference can't really give them much cheer at all.