Brown home and dry; for now

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I took Alex’s advice last night and put a tenner on Labour winning in the Glenrothes by-election. The party had deliberately pushed expectations to a surreally low level, as I pointed out yesterday, making the bookies’ odds (I got 3:1) unrealistic.

The Scottish National party was never the Goliath which it was portrayed, despite its shock success at Glasgow East a few months ago.

Having said that, no one will be more surprised than me about the scale of the Labour victory, with a majority of 6,737 and more votes (19,946) than last time. Given the party’s dire levels of popularity in the summer this is a substantial success for Gordon Brown, who risked his personal credibility by visiting the seat ahead of the poll.

The Tories and Lib Dems meanwhile lost their deposits. The Scottish National party, which had made hubristic claims of certain victory, increased its share of the vote with 13,209 votes; a 5 per cent swing from Labour. But its excuse this morning – blaming Labour’s local campaigning on care charges – rings hollow.

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