Running Scared of the People's Verdict

By Heffer, Simon | Daily Mail (London), January 3, 2002 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Running Scared of the People's Verdict

Heffer, Simon, Daily Mail (London)


OPPOSITION to the euro in Britain is running at two or three to one, and so the Government is having to resort to desperate measures to try to convince our European partners that, one day, we shall join too. That is why Minister for Europe Peter Hain has suggested that, with the 'successful' launch of the euro, the demise of the pound is only a matter of time.

The 'inevitability argument' - for that is what Mr Hain is using - has been knocking around the pro-euro lobby for the last few years. As soon as it was clear the euro was not the supercurrency its adherents had claimed (it has devalued by around 13 per cent since its launch three years ago), and once people grasped the constitutional and democratic implications, another means of persuasion was needed.

To say we shall end up doing something because 12 other countries are doing it is hardly a logical or compelling argument. Yet the Government manifestly hopes that this will be the best way of getting people to vote Yes in a referendum.

Now, and for the foreseeable future, the Government would be terrified to have that referendum. For if it were to lose, as undoubtedly it would, it would not only impair Mr Blair's standing in Europe, but have implications for Labour's credibility and for the result of the next election.

The case for the euro is, for the moment, pure propaganda. With predictable help from the BBC, which in its flag-waving for the currency has sounded this last few days like the provisional wing of the European Commission, the Government is hoping to convince people it will be impossible to carry on as a modern trading nation unless we ditch the pound.

It is so convenient, the proponents argue, to bring your foreign currency home from holiday in Spain, France or Italy and then spend it in your own high street. Also, there can be no mystery about the real cost of buying goods abroad when they are priced in denominations familiar from home.

However, the euro is about much more than the trivial matter of buying your croissants or tapas or pasta in the same currency as you can spend in Marks and Spencer.

We have the inevitability argument only because the Government is afraid to engage in the argument that really matters: the one about our democratic rights, and the high cost in political and economic sovereignty.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Running Scared of the People's Verdict


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?