Anyone with an interest in mathematical facts instead of propaganda may wish to note two important facts about this victory for the Liberal Democrats. The first fact is that the Conservatives didn't win the last election - the Liberal Democrats lost it. The Conservative's share of the vote went up by only 0.8% whereas Labour increased their vote by 1.5%, the Greens by 2.8% and UKIP by 9.5%. By comparison the Liberal Democrats lost 15.2% of the vote.
If a General Election could be lost by the collapse of the Liberal Democrat vote then what might happen if their vote returns in a number of Southern seats where they were the main challenger to the Conservatives? Any Lib Dem revival at least generates the potential for the next General Election being an awful lot closer than pollsters are telling us.
The second piece of simple mathematics is that the margins by which they won Richmond were small enough to mean that without Caroline Lucas' and Jonathan Bartley's decision to stand aside Sarah Olney would very likely have lost. She won by under 2,000 votes. So the progressive alliance has produced its first victory.
You might have thought that this would mean some serious soul searching in Labour and the Liberal Democrats about tactics for the next election. A progressive alliance can clearly win in a lot of places. There is, however, little sign of a real progressive alliance emerging.
The reason is that for a progressive alliance to work there has to be give and take. The indication so far is that both Lib Dems and Labour are very keen on the take bit but not yet showing any meaningful signs of any give.
An alliance does not mean that the Greens stand aside in every seat in the country so that the "real" party of the working class can have a clear run at it. Nor does it mean that the Lib Dems say thank you for the bi-election victory and then proceed to make no hard practical proposals about where they will stand aside to help us.
The vast majority of Greens are happy to work with anyone who shares our principles and ideas and not hung up about whether they hold any particular party label. But we do actually believe in something significantly different to the other two parties and even when we really don't expect to win it is important to us that our perspective is heard by voters.
It is hard to be asked to stand aside for a Labour Party that took us to war in Iraq on the basis of a pack of lies. It is hard to stand aside for a Liberal Democrat Party that imposed austerity on poor people for five years. It isn't easy to be asked to stand aside for a Labour Party that contains hundreds of MPs who still think the real problem is that they weren't centre ground and respectable enough and need to get back to the good old days of Blair. It isn't easy to trust a party that promised on a pledge card to cut student fees and then put them up to outrageous levels.
I want to see a clear Green perspective being put before the electorate for the simplest possible reason. I happen to think that unless we tackle the environmental crisis and transform our economy onto a more modern and sustainable basis then things will go very badly for the country and for the planet. I want to hear us saying loud and clear in every seat that you cannot build secure prosperity and repair deprived and neglected communities without a radical shift in approach.
The situation at the moment is that Labour and Liberal Democrats are behaving as if those of us who think this are a bit of a nuisance that should simply go away. They don't want to face up to the realities that this is simply not going to happen. Any more than the early Labour Party was going to go away just because the Liberals found them irritating competition that split votes.
The major 'progressive' opposition parties need to face up to realities and work out what they need to offer as well as what they need to take. There is only so long that a small political party like the Greens can continue to try and be helpful if all that happens is we begin to feel like mugs who are used but never helped.
I strongly support Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley for getting beyond petty party politics and helping the Liberal Democrats win Richmond. There is clearly a huge amount to gain from Labour and the Liberal Democrats doing deals with each other and with the Greens. Put bluntly it looks like the only way the next election can be won.
I ask members of those parties to think long and hard about what discussions they are having and what they are doing to encourage a feeling a secure collaboration. Because the alternative is simple. Even if we win loads more votes at the next General Election, we could easily lose seat after seat to divisions that could be avoided by hard bargaining now. Make the Progressive Alliance a reality quickly before people like me conclude that it is just a mugs game and we're being used.