Podium: Welcome aboard the Euro Titanic

Extract from a speech given by the former Tory party chairman to an Anti-Maastricht Alliance rally in Cardiff
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The Independent Culture
ALL OVER the world people are struggling to be free. In Kosovo, Albanians are demanding self-government. In Sri Lanka the Tamils, in Iraq, Turkey and Iran the Kurds demand independence. According to the polls even the Scots now demand separation from the United Kingdom.

Yet here in the European Union our masters are intent on reducing independent nations into mere provinces of a state called Europe.

Surely they must be mad?

At the end of the British six months' presidency of the European Union Council (not, by the way, the Presidency of Europe - a post which does not (yet) exist), has the democratic deficit been reduced? What progress has been made by the process of subsidiarity in returning home to this country, to our people, to our parliament, the powers which had previously been transferred to Brussels?

The answer is simple and clear in each case. None. None. None.

Indeed, by the Treaty of Amsterdam the process has accelerated in the opposite direction. Not only that, but the agreement on the next stage of monetary union - taken in clear breach of the criteria and requirements set out in the Treaty of Maastricht - has increased the centripetal tendency of the European Union. For the first time in hundreds of years we find ourselves ruled by an elite who insist that whilst we must obey the laws they make, they are free to break those laws themselves when it suits them.

It was at Runnymede that the barons started the process, through Magna Carta, of bringing the monarchy under the law. Now after 900 years that process is being reversed.

Yet Mr Blair announced on Wednesday his concerns about centralisation. He wants, he says, to bring back powers to Britain. But how did these powers ever become centralised?

He has been in the presidency since January, and now in its dying days he talks about bringing powers home. It's a bit late, Prime Minister. But you could start by announcing that your Government will not hand responsibility for setting interest rates to the bankers in Frankfurt.

Everyone knows that within a monetary union there can be only one bank rate. Within Euroland it will be no more possible for Finland to have a different rate from Portugal than it is today for the rate in Cardiff to differ from that in Edinburgh. Suppose then that one country (it could be us, if Mr Blair and his ally Mr Heseltine have their way) needs lower interest rates to avoid sliding into recession or slump, but the bankers decide that Germany needs higher rates to cool down a boom.

Obviously in that country unemployment would rise. The government would not be allowed to increase expenditure, nor to cut taxes - that would break the rules on the public sector borrowing limits. It could not cut interest rates.

Suppose, then ,at an election the people elected a parliament committed to lower interest rates and taxes. What then? Tough luck.

That is what I described as the Euro Titanic - with no lifeboats. If the democratic path is blocked by the edicts of unelected officials then the people will be bound to look for another path.

Sooner or later mainstream taxes will have to be the same across Euroland. There is no example of a single currency having differing mainstream taxes in the world. There is no doubt in the minds of the leading continental politicians that monetary union, fiscal union and political union cannot exist separately.

So where does this leave the democratic process in the EU?

Last week a Committee of the European Parliament issued a report recommending that all member states adopt a single PR system for elections in which 10 per cent of MEPs would be elected from a list of candidates in one single EU-wide constituency. The leader of the so-called Conservative MEPs is reported to have given his support to the idea.

Quite clearly this is a step towards the creation of Euroland. And the message is clear. If you want any democracy in the EU you must accept not only the single currency, but the single parliament and the single sovereign state.

The single currency is a dangerous political instrument which would destroy our national democracy.

If we do not oppose it through our domestic institutions, then it will destroy those very institutions themselves. How then would the will of the people be expressed?