One of the funniest things about by-elections is the sight of the defeated parties' members and supporters attempting to spin the result positively.
So, given the Tories finished in 3rd place with their share of the vote plummeting to just 12.8%, it is beholden on me to pronounce the result a success for Cameron & Co.
Of course, it wasn't a success for the Tories, although, arguably, you can put their poor result down to tactical voting (in this case Tories positively voting for the LibDem coalition candidate). However, there is one silver lining in Labour's victory for their opponents.
When analysing whether a result is good or bad for your "team" in any game, business or election, you have to consider what the alternative result would have meant. In the case of Oldham East and Saddleworth, Ed Miliband absolutely had to win it. His leadership is being questioned by many in his own party who have been very uncomfortable with having the Unions' candidate foisted upon them. If Miliband had been the first opposition party leader in 30 years to lose an MP in a by-election then his position would have been very shaky. He could well have faced a rebellion and been replaced.
So, as desperate an attempt to see a positive in this result for the Coalition as this post may be, the truth is that, it is now looking increasingly likely that Ed Miliband will survive until the next election.
Now that really is good news for Labour's opponents.