On centrism

On the subject of centrist politics, John Harris makes this point:

… but such trifles as the welfare state and the postwar education system were basically the work of centrists. More recently, so were Sure Start, the minimum wage and equal marriage. These things required planning, coalition-building and a willingness to listen to an array of opinions. The kind of shrill belligerence that now defines debate would probably have killed them before anyone even got started.

I can’t imagine ever describing myself as a centrist, it’s a word that’s been bandied around so much as to have become meaningless. That said, it is certainly true that, while the ideological purity of the extremes may be satisfying to some, it’s the people who are willing to make compromises and build a consensus that achieve lasting change.