I don't have much to add to the general panic inflicted by the by-election. The one thing that really troubles me is that the Lib Dem vote went down too. Does that suggest that we starting to see the emergence of tactical anti-Labour voting? If so we may disappear down the plughole even quicker than we imagine. I still can't quite see why we are taking such a kicking from the electorate, but it certainly does seem that the momentum is against us now.
I also hugely disagree with some of the defeatism amongst lefties that suggests that the Tories wouldn't be much different. For one, we really don't know what they stand for because they have been so light on detail so far, but a lot of what has been said - for example about public sector workers pensions, union rights etc - should set the alarms bells ringing. Secondly the Tories have not undergone the sort of transformation that Labour did. It's a huge gamble to assume that they won't return to their instinctive prejudices against organised labour.
Back on the worky front, I've already quoted from the Howard Davies/David Green book Global Financial Regulation: The Essential Guide and I can recommend it do anyone trying to get to grips with what the various regulatory bodies do and the challenges that face them. You can get it off Amazon for £15. Observer economics geezer William Keegan says in the blurb on that gack that it makes regulation "interesting". I wouldn't go that far! But it's a useful resource, particularly for anyone considering a bit of regulatory engagement.
Finally a quick aside for Charlie. I've just read this shortie on Gramsci, which was less interesting than I thought. I was kind of underwhelmed by the decription of the concept of hegemony, and didn't come away with a very clear idea of how it really works, or how to develop counter-hegemonies, though I picked up some interesting ideas for further reading. Maybe I chose the wrong book?