So it turned out to be a comfortable victory for Labour, with a majority greater than Phil Woolas got in 1997 at the height of Labour's New Dawn.
The significance of this election was that it was the first since the early 1980's where Labour faced tactical voting against us, and we were nervous, as not only had the LibDems got within 103 votes of us at the 2010 general election but the combined LibDem and Tory vote in that election was enough to overwhelm us.
As it happened, enough LibDem and Tory voters switched to us, and enough Tories stayed Tory, to prevent tactical voting for the LibDems from delivering a win. The Tory candidate looked sad standing on the podium, he had been sacrificed at the Coalition altar, and I felt a bit sorry for him.
If Tories and LibDems are asking "why wasn't tactical voting enough to win this seat", the answer is "because you fielded two candidates", which enabled those genuinely Tory to vote Tory. If they want to crush that kind of thing out they need a a proper "coupon" election of the sort they had in 1918, where no Liberal stood against a Tory and no Tory stood against a Liberal. That requires both parties to merge, which might be too much for Tories to stomach, while at the same time being the end of the LibDems.
As long as the Tories and LibDems field two candidates, the vote should split between them allowing Labour to win, especially if some of their voters switch directly to us because of dissatisfaction with the government.