Positive Thinking to Save the Pound
THE challenge the Prime Minister has thrown down on the single currency has been decisively picked up, and the most important issue that has faced this country in generations may yet get the debate it deserves.
Unveiling the National Changeover Plan last week, Mr Blair proved that his zeal for the Euro - and the loss of national independence and sovereignty it entails - has never wavered. Not even when he was assuring the country that he would 'slay the Euro-dragon.' Opposition leader William Hague is entirely right, therefore, to refuse Tory participation in the Commons committee meant to oversee the plan.
The sole function of this body, it is now obvious, is simply to speed the Government's drive towards the single currency on its way.
He is also right to recognise that the Prime Minister has provided a timely opportunity for putting the positive case for keeping the Pound.
Until now, the arguments for retention have been primarily negative. This is not to say that the objections are not powerful in themselves. They are.
But negative arguments on their own are unlikely to be enough.
The public needs to be shown that there is nothing 'inevitable' about British membership, and that being in Europe but outside the single currency is not only possible and practical but also beneficial.
For one thing it will ensure that we can go on setting the interest rates demanded by our economic circumstances, rather than accepting the 'one size fits all' rates that apply throughout Euroland. We can continue with the relatively low levels of taxation and red tape that make Britain a magnet for foreign investment, encourage the creation of new businesses, and give us one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe. …