Henley is a rather nice village to the west of London, not far from Windsor. It is Tory heartland country. The Henley by-election was to replace Boris Johnson as MP, and so was always going to be a Conservative shoo-in, but Labour did not come second in Henley, or even third behind the Liberal Democrats (who did come second). No, the Greens, which have no representation in the House of Commons beat Labour. On top of the that, the fascist British National Party beat Labour.
That isn't a great reflection on the Greens or the BNP, Henley isn't some environmentalist fascist stronghold, they got 3.8% and 3.54% of the vote respectively. Labour only got 3.07%. Yes not 30.7%, the decimal point is right at 3.07%. More fascists felt there was a point to vote than supporters of the government.
Now Labour was never going to win in Henley, realistically a good third place would have been the expectation. By elections are a chance to vent. However fifth is utterly devastating. The gap between second and third is enormous - 27.85% for the Lib Dems being second and 3.8% for the Greens in third. Imagine being a member of Labour in Henley - you might ask why bother (you should!).
It is a slap in the face of the overspending, big government arrogance of the Gordon Brown administration. A government that signs the Lisbon Treaty, though it promised a referendum on an EU constitution, a government that continues to ratchet up fuel tax for general revenue, whilst expecting people to save and conserve.
What it says is that the government inspires so few, interests so few and its cloying behemoth of regulation, taxes, subsidies and nanny statism is contemptuous to so many. Now I'm not pretending the Tories are a great advancement, but Gordon Brown must surely be worried. A hat trick of failures - the local elections, the Nantwich and Crewe by-election defeat and now Labour fifth beaten by fascist white nationalists, where it should be third only beaten by the two other main parties. Labour lost its deposit in this by-election, perhaps Labour after Blair is rudderless and devoid of inspiration and philosophy - if so fine, but let's remove it from power.