Congratulations to Phil Wilson, selected as Labour's candidate for the Sedgefield by-election tonight. Phil, with his strong local connections and long association with the outgoing MP, was always a shoe-in for me. He'll make a formidable MP.
I see the LibDems have selected too - Greg Stone, a Newcastle city councillor. The LibDems' campaign website, with plenty of knockabout stuff regarding the Tories, already has a feel that the interesting scrap will actually be for second place.
I hope all the mainstream parties will maintain a united front against the BNP. They've selected failed fuel-lobbyist, failed UKIP member Andrew Spence to fly their sordid colours. There's some interesting background on Spence here.
For a true appreciation of the psychology of these people, there's a revealing piece reporting an ongoing trial of a former BNP candidate in the 2006 local elections on today's BBC website. Mr Cottage stockpiled explosives and ammunition for a "war" against Asians. According to his wife, Cottage and his co-defendant were, "solid" friends who met regularly outside BNP meetings to discuss politics, the party and Hitler. Nice.
I can't help thinking that in the current climate, the media seem disinclined to expose the threat to our democracy posed by characters like these - had Cottage and his chum been Asian and/or Muslim, this trial probably would have made the national press...