Ukip have their first elected MP in Clacton and they've given Labour one hell of a fright in Heywood & Middleton. The numbers are:
Clacton: Ukip 21,113 (60%), Conservatives 8,709 (25%), Labour (11%)
Heywood & Middleton: Labour 11,633 (41%), Ukip 11,016 (39%) Conservatives 3, 496 (12.3%)
It's a thumping defeat for the Conservatives - but a shattering victory for Labour. A percentage point increase on their 2010 showing in Heywood & Middleton, and in a seat that is only the 148th most Ukip-friendly. The question on Labour minds is: how will Ukip do in Great Grimsby, or Rotherham, both seats that Nigel Farage's party could take from them in May?
The Tory focus is now on Rochester & Strood, the 271st most Ukip-inclined seat as opposed to Clacton at N0. 1. If CCHQ can defeat Mark Reckless then they may be able to breathe a little easier - but there's a growing acceptance that a parliamentary presence for Ukip will be a fact of life, not just for the next eight months but for the forseeable future.
Both sides are out in force with their lines to take. "It underlines the scale of the challenge facing Labour," Douglas Alexander told the Today programme. "That's just put Ed Miliband closer to Downing Street," Grant Shapps said on the same programme later.
These soundbites feel awfully...familiar. Didn't their damp performance in the European elections "underline the scale of the challenge facing Labour"? Is there any reason to suspect the new variation on "Vote Ukip, Get Labour" will be any more effective than the last one? I wrote after the Scottish referendum that neither David Cameron or Ed Miliband seemed to have any real idea how to tackle one populist politician in the shape of Alex Salmond. They still don't seem to be any closer to working out how to contain Nigel Farage.
"IT COULD BE OVER IN SIX MONTHS"
"If western boots were on the ground," General David, now Lord Richards tells Mehdi Hasan, "Isil could be defeated "in six months". The former Chief of the Defence Staff sat down with the Huffington Post (read it here). The PM shares something of the same attitude as his predecessor-but-one, Tony Blair, says Lord Richards. "There are bad things happening in the world and they would like, with others, to do something about it. I think they do enjoy being influential, feeling that together with others they are making a difference. It's quite a drug. What I have been saying is that if you want to do that, for goodness sake, please do it properly, full-bloodiedly. Don't play at it."
THINK YOU BETTER GOVE NOW
Michael Gove considered replacing Sir Michael Wilshaw as the head of Ofsted, Richard Adams reveals in the Guardian. A DfE memo, written by Mr Gove's then-adviser Dominic Cummings, has been passed to the Guardian - the full text is here. "Ofsted has huge problems and Wilshaw does not have the necessary skills," Mr Cummings says.
DESPAIR IN THE DEPARTURE LOUNGE
Enhanced screening for Ebola will be introduced at Heathrow and Gatwick, despite advice from Public Health England and the World Health Organisation that such measures are ineffective and unhelpful, following a change in advice from the Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies - read Sarah Knapton's story here. "The single most reliable way for Britons now to avoid a gruesome early death remains to take up jogging and lay off the booze, not to close down Heathrow," argues Gaby Hinsliff in the Guardian.
MONEY *CAN* BUY YOU LOVE!
Ukip donors are able to buy their way into top positions, party members allege. "If you've got a big enough chequebook, anyone listens to you. It's not right," Caven Vines, a Ukip councillor in Rotherham, tells the Times. BLAIR VS. BROWN: "BEAUTIFUL GIRLS" VS "BIG BOYS WITH FLORID FACES"
Tony Blair filled Downing Street with "very beautiful girls" while Gordon Brown's mob were "a gang of big boys, rather overweight big boys with florid faces", Andrew Marr tells the Cheltenham Literature Festival. Read his comments on the inner workings of the courts of Thatcher, Major and Cameron here.
Our cartoon is the work of Christian Adams; you can see his work onInstagram. You can get in touch with me by hitting "reply", and via Twitter.
A WORD FROM OUR SPONSORS
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TOO MANY TWEETS
@JohnMannMP: Ed Miliband does a lot of listening. Now he needs to do a bit more hearing.
POLL OF POLLS
Poll of polls 3rd to 10th October (Populus-YouGov)
Conservatives 33% Labour 35% Liberal Democrat 8% Ukip 14% Others 10%
YouGov: Conservatives 30%, Labour 35%, Liberal Democrat 8%, Ukip 15%
From the Telegraph
Fraser Nelson - The Tories cannot fight for leafy areas and forget the poor
Rob Colvile - How close to home are the horrors of Ebola?
Stephen Bush - 15 By-Elections That Shook Britain
Gaby Hinsliff - Labour is losing its grip on its core voters (Guardian)
Philip Collins - Two truths Labour doesn't want to hear (Times) Jam
0900 LONDON: Nigel Farage LBC phone-in.
1100 LONDON: Chuka Umunna speech on Black History Month