Voters, not politicians, will decide on the euro

DENIS MacShane is a top bloke for whom I have a huge amount of respect and affection (and whenever you read an opening line like that you just know there’s a “but” coming, don’t you?)

But I think he’s being a tad optimistic in calling for Britain to adopt the euro. 

Because although he doesn’t seem to have addressed the issue of a referendum, there would nevertheless have to be one before Britain could ditch the pound. And I don’t think for a moment that such a vote could be won by the Yes campaign.

Inevitably there will be those who will now claim that the government’s refusal to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty is a sign that Labour would be prepared to ignore the commitment to a referendum on the euro. 

Not true.

First of all, that commitment was to hold a referendum on the European constitution, not on every other treaty that the EU came up with.

Secondly, there is no question that on a matter of such constitutional and economic importance, the government could – or indeed would – ignore a policy that has been in existence for longer than the government itself.

If the government sees a fresh case for adoption of the euro (and I’m not convinced the case is any more compelling now than at any point in the past), then voters will decide whether or not that case is persuasive enough. If, as seems likely, the government’s policy remains unchanged, there will be no referendum and we will stick with the pound.

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6 Comments

Filed under Economy, Europe, Government, Labour

6 responses to “Voters, not politicians, will decide on the euro

  1. Is this a ‘new’ New Labour, one that will allows the voters to decide on things that are important? If I believed that, I could be persuaded to vote Labour for the first time in my life! But you only have to read the text of Hazel Blears speech at the Hansard Society to understand what New Labour really believe in respect of an individuals (otherwise described as voters at election time) right to decide, or for that matter have an opinion that is different to the government.

    You are on of the few who are willing to engage in a healthy debate, you are just on the wrong side.

  2. Ironically, just as we had to wait for them to take us into the Common Market, I’m afraid that we’ll have to wait for the Tories to get in before we’ll become fully engaged in Europe and join the euro.

    It’ll probably take a financial crisis and mean our going in on less favourable terms than we might otherwise have obtained but at least we’ll get in. Labour is too scared of the anti-EU press to do anything this radical.

    It’s a shame we’ve always been late wrt Europe and thus always missed the chance to influence things ab initio.

    If only Attlee’s government had had the balls to take us into the Coal and Steel Community we could’ve eased into the Common Market when it started. The CAP, for example, would therefore never have existed in its present state and the world would be a better place.

    I love firework night – light the blue touch-paper and retire immediately…

  3. Stu

    “First of all, that commitment was to hold a referendum on the European constitution, not on every other treaty that the EU came up with.”

    Does this mean that the EU could rename its currency to the ‘EU Dollar’ and Labour would no longer be obliged to hold a referendum before joining?

    Just asking…

  4. To echo Stu somewhat:

    “First of all, that commitment was to hold a referendum on the European constitution, not on every other treaty that the EU came up with.”

    It’s highly disingenuous to claim that the Lisbon Treaty is ‘just another EU treaty’. It simply is a modified EU constitution. Unless you’d like to argue that the Irish had a referendum on “just another treaty”.

  5. Alan

    Give us an opportunity to vote and we’ll show you exactly what we think of the E.U.
    Fact is, that wont happen until the ‘right’ result is likely- you know it and we know it.
    That is why Labour will be voted out at the next election-they think they know best.

  6. John

    It’s not joining the euro that’s important. The currency is too regional. Rather that a fixed exchange rate be established between the euro, the dollar and the yen. Later the three to become a new single global currency. (See http://www.singleglobalcurrency.org)
    And what might Britain do then?

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