Living near the borders of the Rochester & Strood constituency, so near that we've had a few errant phone canvassers ringing us up, it has been interesting to watch the by-election unfold. It is clear that the old two party politics of a centralised government system is no longer appropriate for local issues.
Difficult and expensive road infrastructure making it hard to reach a hospital in special measures, delays in regeneration of the waterfront, the threat of airport expansion and loss of green spaces, concerns over primary education and special needs provision, a constituency split by a river and hemmed in by motorways and part of the much larger urban conurbation of the Medway Towns...
This by-election has seen the emergence of many candidates, UKIP may have thought they'd be smiling all the way to another seat but it is more likely that the major parties will lose votes to a host of smaller parties. It is not so much a litmus test for next year's election but an example of how the political goodwill of a community has been worn thin by the relentless pressure on living standards and a lack of understanding of local issues.
List of candidates ~ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-29616021