Former Blair Cabinet Secretary Lord Mandelson was one of the few principled politicians, who as recently as December 2014 said Britain should have joined the Eurozone and in fact could still adopt the Euro currency at some time in the future.
But it seems yesterday at a CBI conference, when asked if he still thought the UK should be part of the Eurozone, he bottled it and replied: “Heavens no!”
Eurosceptic #brexit trolls everywhere were quick to seize upon the moment to claim Mandelson finally back-tracked on his unpopular but strongly held beliefs. Beliefs I happen to share, so I feel Mandy let the pro EU side down.
The next three sentences reported by ‘Politics Home‘ put his so called ‘admission’ in a slightly different light:
“That moment came and went and it’s not going to come back,” he told the Institute of Directors annual conference.
“Look, I supported the government’s policy at the time, which was to keep the option open, but the option closed.
“And given everything that has happened since, I don’t see the British public reopening.”
That’s right, various Eurosceptic rags and the usual #ukip trolls on the internet have made the subject of UK using the Euro so toxic, that no British Politician in his right mind would dare to suggest that the UK in a moment of collective madness has shot itself massively in the foot by not joining it. Even Gordon Brown, who once said 73 pence would be a good rate for the UK to swap currency, let the UK’s golden Euro moment pass unnoticed even when it passed 80 pence. Meanwhile during the first 9 years of the Euro, the pound dropped so fast, that at times there was in effect parity between the Euro and Sterling when it peaked at 97.855p on 29 December 2008 . People have short and selective memories about exchange rates. Today UK tourists to mainland Europe are once more happy with exchange rates, but back home a strong pound is killing the few export related jobs the UK still has as pointed out by Richard Branson.
During the last few months of EU referendum debate I have only read one article by Martin Sandbu in the prestigious Financial Times venturing that the UK would have fared better inside the Euro zone.
Most observers of British politics seem content to buy the unsubstantiated € claptrap that Eurosceptics like to propagate. Below some typical examples from twitter:
The propaganda narrative of these kippers is to always point at countries like Greece and other Mediterranean countries in financial trouble: Look how bad they are doing they say, look at their unsustainable debt, look at their youth unemployment. Never dare they admit that the more Northern Eurozone countries are actually doing rather well at the same time Greece is suffering. Nobody can disprove my conjecture that Britain would have fared similarly well adopting the Euro. For some mysterious reason all these kippers, proudly wearing ‘Believe in Britain’ badges, take it ‘as read’, that Britain using a different currency would find itself with a begging bowl alongside Greece? Never it enters their closed minds Britain might be dishing out fiscal transfers to the poorer Southern member states the way successful Germany is expected to do. All Eurosceptics can come up with is that the single Euro currency favours Germany. It has to be some dirty Neo-Nazi trick to establish the fourth reich by the back door. The fact that it might equally have favoured Britain’s manufacturing sector, making it more competitive, is simply beyond their contemplation.
So where Mandy bottles it, I will stick my neck out for the Euro:
“If Brown had stuck to his economic criteria for joining the Euro zone (instead of fiddling them), UK would have gone in at 80 pence per Euro. Brits would all be 20% richer!
If successive governments would have had an industrial development policy for the North of the UK as well as favouring financial services in the City of London, not only would Britain’s capital be the leading financial services centre in the world, but its industrial heartlands (i.e. West Midlands) would make Britain once more an industrial powerhouse like Germany. The UK would have a positive balance of trade in goods as well as a surplus in the services sector. Empty return containers in Felixstowe bound for China might have actual ‘made in Britain’ goods in them created by proud British engineers. Now they contain mainly empty packaging, household rubbish for some poor sod in a developing country to sort through.
Now my kipper friends on twitter, who believes in Britain? #ukip with their visions of going it alone on WTO terms in a globalised world where size is everything? Dan Hannan with his phoney dreams of reviving the old empire? Commonwealth? Anglosphere?
Or ‘little old me’ who says ‘Let’s be economically strong together with our European neighbours in a globalized world, where size is everything.
If we have European values to uphold, let’s do it together, because a good neighbour is better than a far friend who happens to speak English.