Leaving aside the Word verification (right) over where Farmer's boy Iain Dale is counting his chickens for 2010 this is an extremely interesting result following a rather dull and unenthusiastic procession behind Central office Chloe. Something like 20 - 25,000 more will vote in the real thing in 2010. The 12,000 or so who chose one of LD, UKIP, Green - all clustered around the 4,000 not much between them might take a different view next time. The Lib Dem challenge collapsed. The Greens will also be heartily disappointed.
Sadly for our bright young candidate Labour will perhaps be considering a personnel change to win this seat back. If they don't mind it being close they will find a suitably profiled and experienced, probably properly local, street fighting option. If they want to go back to being safe they will do as follows.
Gordon, Hello Hello: Listen very carefully. I shall say this only once:
You will take a deep breath and pick up your 'phone. You will call Dr Ian Gibson. You will apologise unreservedly to him for going OTT with the old Star Chamber. You will offer him a knighthood and an MBE which he probably won't take. Being a lefty and all. And you will ask him to rejoin the Labour Party Parliamentary Panel and to agree to stand, should the constituency re-select him, in Norwich North.
If after negotiations this does not bear fruit you will offer him Plan B which I will send you if and when the time comes. Meanwhile Dr Gibson is amusingly still claiming to be MP for Norwich North (below).
Did somebody have their fingers crossed when they resigned? "Am I Your MP?" he asks.
Poor Zoe, or Chloe Smith will join the likes of my old mucker Lord Michael Winstanley whose second stint saw him an extremely short term MP. About eight or nine months. She will probably beat that. But nonetheless find herself worse off than if she had not stood in this by-election. But that's the way it sometimes crumbles, cookie wise.
AFTERTHOUGHT: None Of The Above candidate Anne Fryatt should have changed her name to Wyatt. The two above her on the ballot paper were not objectionable enough to land any votes. Brainy History have got Winstanley's party wrong, just as the BBC apparently did in a caption for Smith, saying Labour HERE. Michael was of course a Liberal.