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.
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.