Matteo Renzi, Italy’s former prime minister, is getting ready to form his own centrist political movement, very much like French president Emmanuel Macron’s La République en Marche. A new centrist group in the UK has also brought excitement, albeit for different reasons. Liberal pro-Europeans are certainly not going down without a fight. But the odds are not looking good for many of them. Liberal democracy is in decline for a reason. Liberal regimes have proved incapable of solving problems that arose directly from liberal policies like tax cuts, fiscal consolidation and deregulation: persistent financial instability and its economic consequences; a rise in insecurity among lower-income earners, aggravated by technological change and open immigration policies; and policy co-ordination failures, for example, in the crackdown on global tax avoidance. When the financial crisis struck, continental European governments did not take full control of their banking systems, crack down hard e...

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