Much as predictions can be dangerous territory: It now looks as if Labour have held on in the Glenrothes by election.
Couple of things if this is confirmed. It now seems clear that Brown will lead Labour into the next election. When? Sooner rather than later. Spring? Possibly.
Has some of the shine gone off Mr Salmond’s Scottish Government? These are strange times when both Brown and Salmond go into these by elections as leaders of governments. Brown’s come out on top this time. A long term trend? I have my doubts if, in Westminster elections, the SNP can keep up the momentum of Holyrood.
The Scottish Labour Party is not forgiven, far from it, but might Labour still be the overwhelming choice of Scotland at Westminster? Possibly.
This is a good result for Brown and Labour: A by election win at this stage in a third term government with an unelected Prime Minister at a time of global catastrophe is an achievement. And it will further dent David Cameron’s confidence.
As I write Nicola Sturgeon is turning cartwheels on BBC 2 trying to rewrite the history of this by election campaign. There is no doubt that Salmond thought he could win this. Talk of slashed majorities is not a comfort.
Salmond’s honeymoon is now over. He’ll need now to reframe the debate. Where to go? He’s unlikely to look at this result and gird his loins in preparation for pushing the independence agenda forward.
Far from striking a blow against the union the people of Glenrothes have pumped a little more air into that old Brown bubble. They’ve also delivered a kick in the guts to Salmond. His arc of prosperity rhetoric is dead. He no longer acts as a conduit for protest votes because he’s in power himself.
There also appears to be no sign of any lift in the Tory vote. That might be the good news for the Nats. If Cameron does win big at the next election then Scotland will not only feel disenfranchised but he may find some unlikely allies in an England centric Tory Party.
One thing is clear: Tonight’s result will have further shifted Cameron and Salmond from their comfort zones. And that ridiculous grin of Gordon’s might just be becoming ever more genuine.