Centro, “there is space, but leaders like Renzi and Calenda don’t help”

Follini’s point of view: “The center can be reborn, if it ever is, only on the condition of relying on a political class as a whole capable of expressing measure, patience, prudence, temperance, a sense of limit”

“There is something cloying in the debates that are chasing each other on the political destinies of the ‘center’. Something that has already been seen, countless times. Yet something that does not seem to lead to anything, and continues to revolve around the same advocates, the same wishes and the same recriminations. It may be that the center has dominated fifty years of Italian political life, and therefore its faded re-editions almost always appear very disappointing. Or it will be instead that the code of our political modernity has in great spite In any case, the topic is immediately dismissed with a sense of almost boredom.

All this is understood. It also justifies itself a little. In fact, the annals of the second and even the (now) third republic indicate a certain number of holes in the water, or if you want donuts without a hole. And even among those who militate under flags that would be called centrist or moderate or whatever you want to call them, there is almost a sort of embarrassment to define themselves as such. As if that being in the middle that once was the virtue and luck of those who settled there, had suddenly become a stigma from which one must quickly free oneself.

Now, the writer has had a certain familiarity with these issues in the past, and would not like to make personal feelings prevail over more detached evaluations. Yet one point remains, in all these discussions. And that is, the fact that never before has the center appeared on the margins of the political game. And never as today, however, that space of opinion is expanding. The question is strong, yet the answer is very weak. This contradiction calls into question those who are active in those parts and should lead to an examination of conscience that was not too indulgent.

There is an important part of public opinion that distrusts a right that is too easily prey to extreme moods, Eurosceptic temptations, exaggerations of all sorts. And perhaps equally distrustful of a left that is returning to radicalization, reaching out as it is in pursuit of pent-star populism. An electoral segment that in difficult moments (Civic Choice in 2013) nevertheless recorded 10 percent of the votes, and in some more promising situations (Calenda in Rome just over a month ago) reached the enviable peak of 20 per hundred. And yet, all this seems to struggle to translate nationally into a competitive political offer.

Now, it is obvious that part of this difficulty lies in the electoral law, which still contains a massive dose of majority spirit, and therefore discourages intermediate positions. And it is almost as obvious that the long preaching in favor of bipolarism, practiced for a quarter of a century now, makes the center appear more like the place of an old nostalgia than an idea in step with the times.

All true, all right. But with a modicum of malice it could also be observed that the destinies of the center have not benefited, and do not, the strong, angular and characterized personalities who are trying their hand at the enterprise. Leaders who deserve all the respect that is due to their curriculum, of course. But what now would they be expected to experience less anxious and agitated than those in which they most love to compete. I’m talking about Renzi and Calenda, first of all. Which seem to be dedicated, each in his own way, much more to the Dionysian spirit than to the Apollonian one. Happy, moreover, not to get along too well with each other.

The fact is that the center will be able to be reborn, if it ever will be, only on the condition of entrusting itself to a political class as a whole capable of expressing measure, patience, prudence, temperance, a sense of limitation. The ‘gray passions’ as Remo Bodei called them. All things that have been banned in these stormiest years. To the point of no longer being fashionable even in those areas where they should instead be cultivated with moderate, very moderate partisan passion “. (By Marco Follini)