How to unspin Norwich
Here's my guide to what the main parties are likely to say about the by-election and what they'll really mean.
Conservatives: "It's a historic victory. Norwich has voted for change. It's time the country had that chance."
Translation: "Phew. We just had to win here or people would say the wheels were coming off Project Cameron. We always knew this wasn't going to be a Crewe and Nantwich moment, but if it takes six visits by the leader to win one seat when the government's in this much trouble, how hard will it be to win the 120-odd needed for a workable majority?"
(The swing needed in Norwich - 5.8% - is less than the swing needed for the Tories to win the general election - 6.9% - and much less than the 17% they secured in Crewe.)
Labour: "This was a unique by-election which tells us nothing about the result of the next election."
Translation: "Oh, I do hope that's right - but why do voters even prefer "Gibbo" - the local MP who used his expenses to help his daughter get a cheap London flat - to Gordon Brown who acted tough and kicked him out?"
Lib Dems: "This is a truly shocking result for Labour."
Translation: "Oh no. Why don't we win by-elections any more?"
Greens: "This result proves that the Greens are real players who can challenge the big three parties."
Translation: "Boy, it's going to be hard winning without PR. Even though we won the most votes in Norwich in the Euros, and are second on the council, no-one took the idea of us winning the by-election seriously."