Super Thursday it was not, but the two by-elections yesterday show politics is trying to adjust to the new order.
In David Cameron’s old stomping ground, the Conservatives unsurprisingly held on to – what was until yesterday, their tenth safest seat – but now with a remarkably reduced majority. In Witney, where voters followed their former MPs lead by backing Remain in the EU referendum, Liberal Democrats tactics were in overdrive allowing the party to surpass Labour into second place, cutting the Tories majority to less than 6,000 – almost 20,000 less than David Cameron held on to the seat by, just 18 months ago.
While it is too early to draw any significant conclusions from one by-election result so early in Theresa May’s premiership, it seems a harder approach to Brexit by the Government could yet breathe life into the old yellow bird yet. The Lib Dems – once lauded for their tactical and well placed local campaigns – could become a repository for pro-European voters.
Let’s not get carried away – after all, the Lib Dems did not win the seat. However, the short campaign and dedication from the party may yet give them hope of recapturing seats lost to the Conservatives in 2015.
Referendum results, as Scotland showed, have a knack of turning the existing order upside down.
Meanwhile in Batley and Spen, following the murder of Jo Cox in June, Labour was the only main party to contend for this seat. None of the nine assorted fringe parties and independents managed to hold onto their deposit, and with a low turnout of only 25%, this was always going to be a win for Labour.
With no direct competition amongst the main parties, it is hard to draw lessons for Labour, especially as this was a seat that voted for Brexit. With the party still trying to work out its future, the low turnout shows there’s hardly a mass movement waiting to march Jeremy Corbyn to Downing Street.
It’s a zero-sum draw as the new MPs take their seats in Parliament, Brexit still means Brexit, and Theresa May still faces governing with that awfully small majority.