Letter: Tory Eurocynics

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The Independent Culture
Tory Eurocynics

Sir: Francis Maude (Podium, 26 June) describes the Tory "wait and see" position on a European single currency as one of "pragmatism". "Cynical opportunism" would be a better description.

The idea seems to be that we should allow our European partners to take all the risks and experience all the problems associated with monetary union and then, if it turns out to be a success, we can jump aboard and enjoy all the benefits. The current government's "watch and wait" strategy (leading article, 25 June) may look similar but in fact represents a radical departure: all the indications are that ministers believe that a single currency will be a success, and that Britain should join just as soon as economic convergence and a favourable climate of public opinion can be achieved.

Unfortunately, whilst our partners have been working towards these ends for several years, Britain has been side-tracked into a largely sterile debate about "sovereignty" and "national identity". The Scots and the Welsh have not lost their national identity as a result of being in a currency union with England. Even if the Scottish and Welsh nationalists were to achieve their goal of independence, I doubt that they would suggest breaking a currency union that works. I suspect that, in a few years time, we will take the European single currency for granted.


London SW16