European Economic & Monetary Union: Euro Membership Will Exact High Price; the Euro Is All about Politics Not Economics, Warns Graham Findlay

By Findlay, Graham | The Birmingham Post (England), October 20, 1998 | Go to article overview

European Economic & Monetary Union: Euro Membership Will Exact High Price; the Euro Is All about Politics Not Economics, Warns Graham Findlay


Findlay, Graham, The Birmingham Post (England)


Ayear ago Chancellor Gordon Brown said there were no constitutional objections to a single European currency.

It is a line taken up with enthusiasm by the Confederation of British Industry but it is nonsense to claim the euro is just an economic issue.

It is an economic issue, to be sure, but not only an economic issue.

It is just another stop on the line to a single, monstrous, overweening, overwhelming United States of Europe that will control the lives of all the peoples of Europe.

It will make the laws, set the taxes, decide on defence and foreign policy, set interest rates and regulate the economies of an entire continent.

The European super-state will be Yugoslavia writ large.

You cannot force so many disparate peoples into a single straitjacket and keep them in chains for ever.

Eventually something has to give.

In the case of the European superstate, it will probably be the demands of some of the poorer countries for more money from the richer ones and the latters' refusal to cough up.

Such demands, and refusals, are inevitable.

Only this month, the European Union began the process of abolishing Britain's pounds 2.8 billion rebate.

The demand for subsidies from the better-off nations will grow as the euro exposes the failures of the poorer countries and as the EU enlarges to take in the weaker nations of eastern Europe.

Sooner or later, the warm feelings of largesse will cool down. That may well result in a massive build-up of resentment and bitterness throughout the EU.

Look at what's happened in recent years in Scotland, Wales and, of course, Ireland, and then consider how much worse it would have been if the English hadn't lavished money on all three countries for years just to keep them quiet.

A United States of Europe cannot succeed any more than a Union of Soviet Socialist Republics succeeded.

It is not right to say look at America - America's different.

It grew, over two centuries, with one language, one set of laws and customs, one currency. And even then there was something everyone seems to forget - bloody civil war between the rich north and the poor south.

Even if you discount the ancestral voices prophesying war, consider the lesser consequences: No Parliament of our own. No Queen. No coinage. No tax-raising powers. No army, navy or air force (except, perhaps, in name).

No laws of our own. No courts of our own. No driving on the left. No chocolate. No freedom of the press. No West Indian bananas.

No double-decker buses, no sausages, no beef exports, no beer, no freedom to do, say, buy, sell or think any differently from the other countries of Europe.

Out go 1,000 years of British history; in comes a couple of decades of ilhought-out legislation designed by the same committees that gave us the European exchange rate mechanism, the beef ban, immigrants from north Africa and eastern Europe and proporti onal representation.

How can anyone seriously argue that the single currency is a purely economic issue? It is just another part of the Franco-German grand design and the least we should do is admit as much before the debate about the euro goes any further.

There are plenty of excellent reasons why the euro will impose a terrible economic price on us for the privilege of ensuring that BMW doesn't have to bother converting pounds into deutschemarks, like massive tax rises and soaring unemployment to name bu t two.

Many people are being lulled into the belief that just because some British manufacturers want this country to sign up to the euro their view must be the right one for us all to adopt.

In most circumstances, it has to be said the view of an industrialist is preferable to the opinion of a politician.

The industrialist has only the best interests of his business at heart. …

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