Author Archives: Massimo Ricciuti

Let’s take a look at the Lib Dems

This post was originally published in Italian on 17th February in the daily La Ragione (page 6). We offer you a translation.

The formation of the UK Lib Dems is very interesting. The party is actually very young. It was formed in 1988 from the merger of the traditional Liberal Party with the Social Democrats, a group born in the early 1980s from the split between the reformist and moderate wings of Labour. Thus, from this union that took place during the Thatcher period, a completely new political entity arose in the cultural setting, but also in the political structure.

Agile, mobile, attentive to the movements and moods of every segment of society which in those years was undergoing a great transformation, the new party established itself as a new presence, above all for its roots in the regions. The Liberal Democrats immediately assumed the vocation of embracing the demands that are not limited only to the City. The big idea is not to focus on Westminster, and not restrict itself to established boundaries, geographically and socially.

As a third force in the country, the new party speaks a new language, and makes communication a strong point. It is a place of continuous comparisons, of calling into question certainties, of overcoming ancient belongings and of the ability to bring the kaleidoscopic world of liberal culture to life in a single but multi-facetted entity.

Inform, inform, inform! This is the motto. But also inform itself and citizens every day about what is happening throughout the territory. From Scotland to Wales, but also and above all in every single municipality, every district, town council,  etc. The imperative is to be present everywhere, as much in a community of five hundred inhabitants as in hundreds of thousands.

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Italy: works starts on the Costituente Liberale

The Italian political situation is very specific. Now is the time to bring together all the political forces that do not feel represented by the extreme right or even the extreme left – a nationalist right and a left that has lost its reformist connotations.

Political forces such as Italia Viva and Azione are moving to build a larger political party that occupies the centre of Parliament. Another political entity is also moving in this context which intends to bring together all the liberals in a large umbrella organisation that includes the federation promoted by Azione and Italia Viva and which sees its political horizon in Renew Europe (formerly ALDE).

The construction of this new political entity has started. There is also a date set in red: January 14, 2023. That day the founding assembly of the Costituente Liberale (Liberal Constituent Assembly) will be held in Milan. The initiative is ambitious. Among those present will be Sandro Gozi (the MEP and leader of the PDE) , Giuseppe Benedetto (the President of the Einaudi Foundation) , Oscar Giannino (a member of the Adam Smith Institute) and Alessandro De Nicola (Senior Partner of the Italian branches of the Orrick Law Firm).

Alessandro De Nicola underlines the importance of the meeting as a founding moment of a federation of various liberals who live in the Italian context, a federation that includes the founding parties Azione and Italia Viva and also +Europe.  Above all it highlights what has already been done by bringing together Altenativa Liberale, Alleanza Liberale for Italy, Liberal Forum and other groups who are today finally united in a single project that supports and strengthens the liberal area of ​​the federation launched by Carlo Calenda and Matteo Renzi.

The Liberal Constituent Assembly is strong in the south thanks to Stefano Maria Cuomo’s movement “Liberali Moderati for Italy”, a movement that is among the first founding members of the project.

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A new way: USA, UK and Italy

I’m afraid bipolarism is currently emphasizing the extremes in politics. A healthy bipolar system should instead make coalitions compete to conquer the “centre”, thus pushing the political forces towards more moderate and reformist positions. But something is changing.

The “third pole” (Azione/ItaliaViva in Italy and the Liberal Democrats in UK) should be the reformist alternative to a right which, at present, is still stuck in ancient positions, especially in terms of human rights and concessions to people who don’t believe in science and in the Covid vaccination.

Fortunately in Italy the move of Moratti’s candidacy (at the Regional election in Lombardia, Italy) goes in the correct direction, splitting the right and exposing the contradictions. In the meantime, it is building a new political project that should also serve to speed up the evolution of the historical left wing Italian party PD (Partito Democratico).

The US Midterm elections showed that Trumpian extremism does not pay. But it also scares the Republicans. Some people really think the USA needs a new party! In the UK  the Tories are in crisis like the old Labour. There are excellent scenarios for Lib Dems who have always been anti-Brexit … we will watch the developments.

In the meantime, it is necessary, in Italy, to stop this attack on science by the new Minister of Health and his Undersecretary, Marcello Gemmato, who says he does not believe in vaccination and would like to stop the Covid vaccination campaign.

The way in which Covid is dealt with is the litmus test of a government’s concern about the most fragile members of society. To protect the most vulnerable, we need to protect everyone and everyone needs to continue to behave responsibly.

In the UK people suffer and the Tories are making such a mess. In Italy the extreme right wing populist parties in the government should think about that. In the UK, Italy and EU we all need a strong Liberal Democrat party!

In Italy and EU there is the #RenewEurope project. The Azione/Italia Viva  parties are moving as a single group in Parliament. The Radicali and +Europa parties are in the Renew Europe Group too … so, here, liberal groups are moving together.

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Recent Comments

  • Paul
    Janet Goldsborough-Jones is/was a long term Lib Dem activist / council candidate in Worthing awarded an MBE. Very active in the community. Congrats to her too....
  • LIZ Gamlin
    I live in target seat 28. I am being showered with Lib Dem leaflets thru the door but no one is engaging with residents to urge them to vote out the conservativ...
  • Alex Macfie
    Uncritical support for whatever the EU does isn't even possible because the different institutions often disagree on policy! And EU policy extends beyond policy...
  • Roger Lake
    May I plead crumbling venerability, and look forwards as well as sideways, please? No-one doubts that despite the natural selfish resistance to it of Conserv...
  • Chris Moore
    "So we can all agree ......that being in favour of the EU requires uncritical support." Total nonsense, Peter, read what I said again. Being in favour of the...