Letter: Euro paean

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The Independent Culture
Sir: You report the new German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroder, praising the way the Government is "cleverly plotting" Britain's adoption of the European single currency ("Brown edges closer to euro", 3 November).

This crabwise approach of euro advocates in government is simply setting the scene for a repeat of the original referendum on EEC membership, as it then was. Disingenuous presentation and government and financial support for the "Yes" campaign combined to achieve acceptance at the time of the referendum, against the run of opinion before and since. That combination soured our country's attitude to the EU ever since. Whether for or against the euro, no one should want to repeat that.

Instead of that "cunning" approach, let us have open advocacy and debate, as your leading article (3 November) advocates. Instead of the Government "plotting" to hold a referendum if and when it thinks it can win, let the Government set a date for the referendum, so that everyone knows when the decision is to be made.

Let the Government also indicate now that it accepts the recommendations of the Neill Committee on referendums. The Government should not use public funds to promote its own partisan case, and the arguments each way should be funded equally.

The decision has profound consequences for our country's future, whichever way the vote goes. Let it be taken in a way that all sides can accept for the long term, whether they like the result or not.


Richmond upon Thames