Well the Hartlepool bi-election seemed to me to be a huge exercise in pointing out things we already know. Here are the main ones:
1) No-one really likes Labour but a lot of people aren't quite sure which party really represents the "anti-labour" vote. Approximately 40% of the voting public in Hartlepool have changed from voting Labour to something else since the last election. Thats half of the previous Labour vote. If they had all gone to the same opposition party, that party would easily have won. Labour's remaining vote is around 40% of the population - the voting needs to be very split indeed for 40% to be a winning % of the vote.
2) The nearest thing we have to an opposition is the Lib Dems. Voters need to rally round if we are going to get Labour out.
3) The Tories are a long long way off the mark and rapidly becoming a minority party. Imagine being a party for people who are more right wing than Labour but aren't actually mad, that's a pretty niche market! They're getting less than 10% of the vote.
4) People will be suitably shocked and horrified to discover that 250 people voted National Front. Another 10% of the population however is voting UKIP - the party that said employers shouldn't employ women who were of an age to have children...! Their candidates have said that they are interested in women's issues because "I just don't think they clean behind the fridge enough"... this is NOT a one-issue party, NOR is it a party thats just a touch right of centre. It's a bunch of extreme fascists.
5) Fathers 4 Justice are stupid and irresponsible. If anyone cared what they thought they would have voted for them. In the event they only narrowly beat the much more sensible policies of the Monster Raving Loony party. Throwing yet more flour about is a sure sign of being a bad loser.
6) Smoke-and-mirrors Blair thinks if he has a quick heart "flutter" we won't notice that his party have lost the plot.
Lets hope people sit up and notice what's going on.