The Eastleigh by-election has turned up some interesting winners and losers.
Top losers, according to the political commentators, are David Cameron and Ed Milliband and their parties. Labour came fourth, whereas the Conservatives came third.
Top winners are the Liberal Democrats, whose candidate was returned to Westminster despite the circumstances of previous incumbent Chris Huhne’s resignation and the sexual harassment allegations concerning Lord Rennard.
The achievement of UKIP in coming a close second is an achievement in itself, making their leader Nigel Farage the second winner.
The third winner is the Christian candidate in the Eastleigh by-election, Danny Stupple, who polled 768 votes and came fifth. His website expressed a forthright position on marriage, castigating the Conservatives and indeed the whole political class for pressing ahead with its redefinition.
The success of UKIP and Danny Stupple came about despite the Conservatives fielding a candidate who was Euro-sceptic and pro-marriage.
The Italian election threw up a strong result for an anti-establishment candidate. Danny Stupple played the same card and did well. Mr Farage’s challenge is to tap into the same rich political seam.
Mr Stupple had no pretensions of winning but his presence and the arguments he made influenced events and helped change the debate. UKIP might have seen themselves as doing the same thing, but the BBC’s Nick Robinson said they might even have won if they had actually thought they could.
Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps said dismissively: “UKIP are the obvious protest vote in this election.”
No doubt there will be future occasions in which we shall be able to judge whether the Eastleigh by-election was just a protest or a new dawn.
Christians will have to keep following the Biblical injunction to pray for those in authority and if their prayer leads them, to keep witnessing to our leaders about their responsibilities to govern subject to the power and empire of Christ our Redeemer.
Turnout was 52.7%, down from 69.3% at the 2010 general election.
Results in full:
Mike Thornton (Liberal Democrat) 13,342 (32.06%, -14.48%)
Diane James (UKIP) 11,571 (27.80%, +24.20%)
Maria Hutchings (Conservative) 10,559 (25.37%, -13.96%)
John O’Farrell (Labour) 4,088 (9.82%, +0.22%)
Danny Stupple (Independent) 768 (1.85%, +1.56%)
Dr Iain Maclennan (National Health Action Party) 392 (0.94%)
Ray Hall (Beer, Baccy and Crumpet Party) 235 (0.56%)
Kevin Milburn (Christian Party) 163 (0.39%)
Howling Laud Hope (Monster Raving Loony Party) 136 (0.33%)
Jim Duggan (Peace Party) 128 (0.31%)
David Bishop (Elvis Loves Pets) 72 (0.17%)
Michael Walters (English Democrats) 70 (0.17%, -0.30%)
Daz Procter (Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts) 62 (0.15%)
Colin Bex (Wessex Regionalist) 30 (0.07%)