It is entirely right that we remain on the qui vive against the ambitions that the EU has for seizing every last one of the reins of power. Unfortunately we have a Government that is so deeply submissive to the whims of the Euro Nabobs that none of the power grabs is ever contested: when did you last hear of Labour saying ‘No’ to the demands of the EU to gratify this or that transfer of power? Indeed when did you last hear of Parliament debating the possibility that we might stand up to Brussels for a change and refuse to implement the latest accretion of power?
The problem is that however much we remain alert, this Government just rolls over and accepts the latest act of ravishment, if not with pleasure, then with no more than the resigned sigh of a woman used to letting her husband have his way with her. With a reputation for such uncomplaining submission, it is unsurprising that those of us suspicious of its dealings with the EU are quick to see Brown’s Government as a woman of very easy virtue.
But I wonder if the corridors of the Treasury and Number 10 Downing Street are really filled, as we write, with civil servants scurrying hither and thither bearing the latest draft of the ‘War Book’ that would undoubtedly be required to implement any plan to efface any last trace of the United Kingdom’s independence.
The source of the alarm that has my colleagues chittering on the termite mound like meerkats on the veldt who have espied a Martial Eagle coursing aloft is a report in EU Reporter by Chris White:
BRITAIN WILL JOIN THE EURO – PUT MONEY ON IT BUT DON’T FIX A DATE
There is absolutely no solid evidence to suggest it but this publication predicts that by the end of the month of January Britain will have announced that it intends to join the euro.
Mr. White goes on to report a conversation with a Banker in Luxembourg who opines that the current economic crisis is far worse than has been admitted and that the Euro Zone banks are desperately short of money. That being so the “Euro Zone needs Britain”.
Seizing a couple of other straws from the wind – the plot to crown Smuggo as Emperor of Europe and a meeting being convened by Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling in London shortly, the invitations to which have caused a lot of petulant whining from the uninvited – a case is made as to why something we believed to have been taken off even the back burner is about to be brought back to the table and flambéd before our very eyes.
Initially Brown’s summit was to have been a cosy little tête-à-tête between France, Germany and the UK alone until Romano Prodi muscled in last week.
This week José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, had his name added after some bleating by the likes of Guy Verhofstadt (Prime Minister of the government of Belgium that has no electoral mandate, having been rejected by the people in elections in June and restored to power last month simply to save Belgium’s neck from the possibility of dissolution) and Jean-Claude Juncker, who heads the Eurogroup of single currency members (and who is Prime Minister of Luxembourg, a country which, if it were one of the English Counties would be 42nd. in terms of population). The ostensible reason for the meeting is to discuss the overall global situation in the light of the credit squeeze that is having such stringent and limiting effects on the world economy in general and the banking system in particular.
Is getting the UK to surrender its economic independence, to abandon its currency and embrace the Euro the real agenda of this rapidly-expanding rendez-vous?
There are those who would love it to be so. Ken Clarke, Chris Patten, Michael Heseltine and Douglas Hurd would sell us into its serfdom without another backward glance. And there can be no doubt that the Euro Zone countries would love to get their hands on control of the British currency and, through our membership of the Euro, effective control of our economy, the better to advance Le Grand Projet in the long term and in the short term to help them through the current economic difficulties.
Of this last proposition there can be little doubt. At every turn this or that Euro Nabob or Eurocrat will say that they would ‘love’ Britain to play its full part in the EU. Of course they would like that. Having effective control over on of the world’s biggest economies and subsuming it into the maw of the wider EU economy would give the Euro and the Union the final seal of legitimacy. To achieve it they would probably bend almost every rule in the book to accommodate any aspect of our economy which did not meet the conditions for membership.
Curiously, expression of the desire to be at the ‘heart of Europe’ remains confined in Britain to the Liberal ‘Democrats’, who would sell their daughters to white slavers if it meant a Federal Europe, Prime Ministers upon entering office (‘I want to see Britain at the heart of Europe’: by the time they leave office they usually only want to plant a dagger in its heart), by a small coterie of Labour Eurofanatics such as Keith Vaz and Denis MacShane (né Denis Matyjaszek) and by the aforementioned Tory has-beens from the failed era of John Major. Other than that the last thing the people of Britain would want, if asked, is to scrap the pound and hand over the last of the family silver to a bunch of greedy foreigners.
Which is why I am puzzled by the suggestion, which has no substantive underlying evidence to support it, that Gordon Brown is about to launch us on a trajectory into the Euro.
Not that Brown is against the Euro as such. Though he would have us believe that he is a closet Eurosceptic at heart and that he was the one responsible for saving us from Blair’s ambition to ditch the pound over the last ten years, in truth he has only been against it because it would involve an unwinnable referendum. Just remember this from The Daily Telegraph of 1997:
GORDON Brown yesterday set Britain on course to join a single currency within six years if Labour wins the next election and Europe makes a success of monetary union.
He told MPs that scrapping the pound is now the Government’s longer-term policy objective. After weeks of confusion over the Government’s stance on a single currency, the Chancellor said he was lining up with big business for a campaign to persuade the British public of the advantages of adopting the euro soon after 2002.
In what will be seen as a potentially historic shift towards eventual membership of EMU, Mr Brown said the Government saw no constitutional objections. The decision would be made on economic grounds. “If, in the end, a single currency is successful, and the economic case is clear and unambiguous, then the Government believes Britain should be part of it,” Mr Brown said to Labour cheers.
That was then and this is now. Back then Labour was swanning along on the back of a burgeoning economy inherited from the Tories, in large part benefiting, ironically, from our release on ‘Black Wednesday’ from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism, membership of which one Gordon Brown had been such a supporter in opposition.
Now the economy is looking distinctly sickly. Brown’s government is going through an extended period of unpopularity as it runs out of steam and into a tide of sleaze and incompetence. Every attempt he makes to get the Labour Bandwagon back on the road again is thwarted as the wheels come off again when this or that piece of incompetence or sleaze oozes to the surface.
The Northern Rock imbroglio continues to suppurate within the Labour body-politic and if it should turn gangrenous will surely sound the death-knell for him and his rotten crew: Iain Martin in today’s Telegraph has a piece which views with some acuity the deleterious nature of the probable nationalisation of the Rock. The Euro, however, is so far from people’s minds that it is difficult to remember when Brown’s last report of his view on the five tests for entry was, though HM Treasury’s website has a current page suggesting it was June 2003, reinforcing the notion that suddenly to resurrect the idea now would send be a complete bombshell. In reality, Brown does not do ‘bombshells’.
Were Gordon Brown to examine some entrails for portents as to his and his administration’s future fortunes (those of part-time Work and Pensions Secretary Peter Hain and those of part-time Welsh Secretary Peter Hain are on the butcher’s slab as I write), he would not find much beyond a pretty rank smell just now. So the idea that he would want to start the process of handing control of our economy over to the EU and plunging the nation into a brawl over the Euro just at the moment strikes me as unlikely to put it at its best.
In addition Brown has staked his government’s future and his personal reputation on the claim that the British economy is strong enough to withstand whatever ‘slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’ may be in the offing in the coming year: to turn round suddenly and say that we ought to be in the Euro would immediately be seen as confirmation that something really bad is around the corner for the UK which can only be fixed by a precipitate rush into the Euro. That would make everyone realise that Brown’s claim to competence and prudence is entirely ephemeral.
That said, it may well be that something is going on. Quite what is unclear although one may be pretty sure that we are not being told the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about matters financial. The truth will out eventually, but the idea that Brown has a rabbit (or in this case, a skunk) called ‘the British Euro’ which he is about to pull out of a hat seems to me to be a trick too far.