British Tremors

If you get bored with the U.S. midterm election cycle that according to some ancient traditions really begins today, there’s always British politics, where a mandatory parliamentary general election to be held no later than next May is already being described as a potential “earthquake.” It’s looking like a preliminary tremor will occur in an October by-election in which the anti-EU, anti-immigrant UKIP party is very likely to secure its first parliamentary representation, per this HuffPost article:

David Cameron looks set for a by-election humiliation at the hands of Ukip following former MP Douglas Carswell’s defection, according to an opinion poll.

Mr Carswell’s decision to join Nigel Farage’s party and trigger a by-election shocked Westminster and the poll of voters in the Clacton seat predicting a massive 44 point lead for Ukip will add to the prime minister’s discomfort.

The Survation study for the Mail on Sunday put Ukip on 64%, with Mr Carswell’s former party on 20%, Labour on 13% and the Lib Dems on 2%.

A UKIP victory of that magnitude could tempt other Tory MPs to defect, while increasing pressure on Cameron’s government to pander further to nationalist sentiment. It looks like the promise of a post-election referendum on EU membership may not be enough to squelch UKIP, which along with the collapse of support for the Tories’ LibDem coalition partners, has become a real threat.

Washington Monthly - Donate today and your gift will be doubled!

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.