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September 01, 2014 2:42 PM British Tremors

By Ed Kilgore

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.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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