For Ukip the stakes could not be higher. Lose here and the party is well and truly dead: its new leader, and its candidate here, Paul Nuttall buried on his first outing. Byelections are the great hope of insurgent parties, when voters can indulge in risk-free protest. No seat could be riper than this Brexit hotspot, where almost 70% voted leave: Stoke perfectly matches this week’s BBC research showing the closest correlation between high Brexit areas and low education qualifications.
Only the idiots vote for Brexit says that last line.
Not beating Labour in a seat which has been Labour since creation in 1950 (and one of the constituent parts was Labour back before 1910 as well) would be most disappointing but not a disaster.
But then, you know, Polly, shape expectations, all that.