OK- my take on Bromley.
The Tories tactics were naive and the had a very poor candidate who committed a series of blunders throughout the campaign (and afterwards- his acceptance speech was very ill judged).
If the question is only one of tactics, then the Tories should not be too worried.
But it is not just tactics. It is strategy they should be worried about. Cameron is just not convincing as a cuddly greenie
Consider the only policies that he as actually put forward:
"leave the EPP and become even more Eurosceptic"
"support the Iraq Occupation and support for the war"
"maybe more nuclear power is a good thing"
"more Trident is definitely a good thing"
The fact is that Cameron is now quite vulnerable to the charge that he is putting forward an image that is all hype, and the reality is that he is just an old fashioned Tory. He is vulnerable to this charge because it is probably true.
Meanwhile the Liberal Democrats have actually started a process of radical change. The internal issues that I have noted before are being addressed very well- Ed Davey is exactly the guy to start the clean up of Cowley Street. Meanwhile, on the policy front, the party is headed down a far more Liberal path. Setting the limits of state power includes setting the limits of taxation. The fact that Cameron has tied himself up in knots of the tax issue is creating a new opportunity for the Liberal Democrats to be creative and radical about tax reduction.
Ming Campbell, as even Norman Tebbit acknowledges, is a mature and authoritative figure- and his measured and thoughtful approach to addressing the internal and the policy failings of the Liberal Democrats may go a lot further than shallow spin.
After Bromley the Tories will be scared of us in by-elections. Maybe they should be more frightened of our leadership and the policy changes that they are putting in place.
Mind you, good to know that our fantastic by-election team has not lost its touch.