Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Left and Right, but where is the Center?

S&D Group President Hannes Swoboda said:

"Monti as next Italian President could be a good choice. But let first Italians choose between right and left politics.”

My comment:

Left and right politics? Where are the centrist ones, in Europe in general?

Once upon a time I used to think/hope that ELDR/ALDE member parties were close to being centrist. An MEP candidate with The Liberals, an ELDR member new party in Greece, in 1999, I thought I had found the centrist home I had missed since the demise of the EDIK party after the 1977 elections (I was 15 then but my father was a voter of EDIK). I soon found out that although there were centrist people in the party, it was albeit more dominated mostly by libertarians including ones that argued that taxation was theft and admired Thatcher and Ronald Reagan!!! More recently, I have come to realise that the Liberal Democrats in the UK and even more so the Dutch VVD and the German FDP were not really centrist. Although especially in the UK's LibDems there is a definite centrist element that was in my opinion frustrated by the Tories-LibDems coalition.

It is convenient for political party game theory for voters to have to choose between left and right ideologies, agendas and policies. But it is the center that has the natural ability to address real people's needs and problems by choosing the right policies without left vs right dogmas and prejudices. It is no surprise that many voters auto-label themselves as centrist or middle of the road. If credible centrist parties existed, they would break those voters' "left vs right" dilemma.

So the issue remains: Who expresses the centrist POV at EU and at EU member states' level? Or the US.

PS. Of course there is a slight difference between middle of the road and centrism, but in practical terms it's kind of a detail.

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