This was the rather startling verdict of Labour councillor Davie McLachlan on yesterday's Rutherglen South by-election -
"Amazing result and body blow to the nats. The downfall begins"
"Massive defeat for SNP #RutherglenSouth Labours @GedK polled almost double SNP vote. Roll on 2014 #indyref and put this matter to bed."
Now based on these extraordinarily grandiose claims, you're probably thinking that - at the very least - Labour's vote must have increased in the by-election, and that they must have enjoyed a swing from the SNP? If so, you'd be wrong. Here is the actual result -
Labour 39.9% (-4)
Liberal Democrats 29.5% (+4.7)
SNP 21% (-2.9)
Conservatives 3.8% (-1.1)
Swing from Labour to Liberal Democrats : 4.35%
Swing from Labour to SNP : 0.55%
So in spite of the fact that the ward was last contested during the SNP's historic triumph in the local elections of May 2012, Labour have in fact suffered a further (albeit modest) swing to the Nationalists. I dare say that's the kind of "body blow" and "massive defeat" that most of us could just about cope with - again and again and again. As Councillor McLachlan says, roll on the independence referendum, and let's put remote-control rule from London to bed.
There's no doubt about it, though - the true moral victors in this election were the Liberal Democrats, albeit in a pocket of traditional (relative) strength for them.