Ten terrible arguments
One of the things about losing a by-election is that it offers commentators the chance to regurgitate a kind of Greatest Hits parade of terrible advice for the Labour Party. In no particular order, here are the top ten:
1. "Gordon Brown has to go because while he is very bright, he is not charismatic and people think he is a bit weird and a policy geek. Labour's next leader should be David Miliband."
2. "Labour should spend upwards of £1 million which it hasn't got on holding an election for the next leader. This is a better use for money that Labour doesn't have than communicating with the electorate or hiring organisers to mobilise campaign volunteers."
3. "Labour should spend the next few months having an internal debate about its future, with lots of candidates standing with more or less identical policies. This worked really well during the Deputy Leadership contest."
4. "Gordon Brown should resign and be replaced by the one who announced that he wasn't up to the job of being Prime Minister."
5. "Labour should hold a general election this year under a new leader, because it is better to be guaranteed to lose an election now then probably lose an election in two years time."
6. "Labour could change its leader, and carry on governing until 2010 with the same policies, and this would be likely to lead to a better election result."
7. "The next leader of the Labour Party should adopt a radical set of policies completely different from the ones Labour was elected on in 2005, based on demands from the trade unions around making it easier to go on strike. This will make Labour more popular."
8. "The one who the Tories really fear is James Purnell."
9. "Labour MPs are more likely to be re-elected if they spend their time talking to journalists and each other about who the next leader should be rather than spending every possible moment available campaigning in their constituency."
10. "He's tanned, he's rested, he's ready. Bring back Tony Blair."