The Conservatives did not have a great result in the Alysham by-election on Thursday. Parents Evening at school prevented me from getting there but it is clear that we ought to look long and hard at why this has happened.
There will be those who seek to claim that this puts the new Broadland constituency candidate Keith Simpson under pressure (and, in part, it should do) but we ought to remember that in "normal circumstances" the results across Norfolk were good for the party only last May.
The Liberal Democrats were all-but wiped out in South Norfolk, they lost another seat in Norwich and went down (again) in Broadland. Meanwhile, the Conservatives had total domination in Breckland and also in West Norfolk. We also picked up seats in North Norfolk and made another gain in Norwich.
This result - whilst poor - isn't a disaster because the LibDems won't be able to treat every seat like Alysham next time around.
You only need to look at Clavering - a by-election gain for the Tories from the LibDems last May, held on the same day at the main local elections. Without the ruthless focus (no pun intended) from the LibDem by-election machine it was easily won by the Conservatives.
All we need to do it to create a by-election force as good as the LibDem one. I think we could do it and all it would take is a little political will...