There were two by-elections this week. I didn't pass comment because they tell us absolutely nothing. They don't tip the balance and they tell us nothing about the next general election. They are both entirely administrative events. The real signals are in local elections where we see Ukip collapsing and Lib Dems taking seats from them. I take this as a sign that we are returning to the pre-Ukip norm which rather bins the notion that Brexit is somehow a resurgence of the right. It is simply a reversion to type.
The failure of Nuttall to win in Stoke is a great pity. Not because I wanted him to win but it would have been hilarious to see him win when Farage failed so many times. Howsoever, Ukip is now completely irrelevant. If they cannot win in Stoke then they simply cannot win anywhere.
As to writing off Labour for dead, what we can see is that the same old bovine tribal voting takes effect and as soon as it becomes apparent that the Tories are making a pigs ear of Brexit, we can expect tactical voting which could revive Labour's fortunes. Marginally. It will limp on as a zombie party for some time. The big story at the next general election will be a collapse in turnout. I won't be voting Tory so I simply won't bother.
I've seen dozens of declarations that "Labour is dead" but if you ask me, the whole system is on borrowed time and its decline has largely been masked by the spectre of Brexit. Now that's out of the way there are fewer reasons still to give consent to a failing system. There will be calls to form a new party, but ultimately the system is broken no matter who we elect. Sooner or later, that penny will drop.