The Barnsley by election was certainly a kick in the knackers for all politicians, whichever party or even independent. A government not hated quite as much as Labour but hardly loved, and between all the candidates they could only tempt 36% of the electorate to turn out and vote.
Of course the Lib Dems got a kicking, as did the Tories. But the Labour result, in Scargill's old stomping ground, of 14,000 is just as big a kicking as the voters dealt the other serious parties. 64% of the electorate couldn't be mithered trotting a few yards to the local library or primary school to put a cross on a piece of paper.
I don't blame the electors for this, I blame the politicians. Since Thursday Miliband has shown himself to be a mindless nerd who has no conception of reality. That result was not a glowing endorsement of Labour and to try and spin it as a great result merely illustrates why the electorate despises politicians. Indeed any party claiming Thursday to be a great result is treating the British people with utter contempt, and deserves to fail.
But I have the answer. If politicians can't convince more than 50% of the electorate to turn out to vote, then the result is null and void. 64% of the voters in Barnsley obviously don't give a toss about having an MP, so don't bother with one. If we are interested in true democracy then surely 64% of people saying they want none of the candidates means that the result is clear. It would save the cost of an unwanted MP and in the scheme of things would make little difference.