A Conservative victory in the delayed election for Thirsk and Malton constituency was never in serious doubt. What went on under the headline of a Conservative hold however is of more interest. If this was the start of a Labour fightback, the "socialist" brethren have some explaining to do. Labour slipped from 2nd to 3rd place and we saw a Labour to Lib Dem swing of 11.6%.
To be honest, this is the election that happened without most of us noticing. I wrote one article about it for the Northern Democrat (circulation covers North Yorkshire so some coverage was needed). With Lib Dem attention on forming the Coalition government, the intensive pressure to go to help in the constituency, normal when a Parliamentary by-election is taking place, just did not happen this time. So the result of the Lib Dems' gaining a good swing and moving into second place demonstrates genuine local support for the Lib Dems. Labour, desperate to believe that every Lib Dem voter will march into the Labour camp following the decision to form a coalition government with the Conservatives, will need to ponder on why the opposite happened.
I know of only 2 council by-elections since the general election and both were good for the Lib Dems (holds in Camden and Truro with increased shares of the vote). Whilst these are too few to give an overall picture, it suggests that at the moment at least, the Coalition and the decision of the Lib Dems to enter it, are receiving general approval from Lib Dem supporters.