Bi-elections almost always produce losses for the government in Britain, and they often provide a third party victory. This is due to the circus nature of a bi-election when everyone's resources can be concentrated in one constituency. Bi-elections are an opportunity to dramatize a criticism of the government. In all likelyhood the British electorate will come back home in the general election since there really is no where else for them to go. A much better indicator, however, is council elections. If Labour loose a large number of council seats in a national trend, that could be a problem for the Labour government. In 1996 the Conservatives lost a massive number of councils, including many traditionally Conservative city and borough councils on the Home Counties, which was the real portent for the general election of 1997.