I STILL don't really understand the whole European argument. I don't understand why the Euro-sceptics think monetary union will lead to a federal Europe. It seems to me that the opposite is the case. The whole point of being in Europe should be so that we can have the Deutschmark. The history of post-war Britain shows us that we are lousy at running our economy. We need someone to do it for us.

The Germans seem to be able to have a fantastically efficient economy and decent public services, and what other country could take on another state a third of the size of their own, and swap the worthless money of that state with their own excellent stuff and still be the most powerful economy in Europe? It's about time we stopped being so insecure and defensive and admitted that the Germans are better at economics than us. We like laughing and they like maths.

Once we've got the Deutschmark, the Germans will have an active interest in the well-being of the British economy - if they don't take care of us we'll quickly ruin them so they'll have to keep bailing us out with their lovely money to keep us afloat. Result - free lunches all round. Also they'll introduce the kind of progressive German social policies to soak up demand and keep their currency reasonably inflation free - the same sort of policies the Labour Party puts forward, but Labour's policies probably won't work, since Labour is British, whereas the German policies definitely will, since they are German. We'll even get the Social Chapter!

But the best thing is, once we've got their money, they can't take it away again. At the moment we're scared of ignoring European political legislation in case they kick us out. But when we've got the Deutschmark, and the EC tells us we've got to have European-sized napkins, drive on the right and have compulsory torture of veal calves, we can tell them to shove off. They can't come over here and take our lovely Deutschmarks back. So not only will we have a fantastic economy but we'll also get our political sovereignty back. Just think! We'll be able to have footpaths with weeds on, send the navy to sink Spanish fishing fleets and reintroduce flogging in schools. If we want to be able to call an ice-cream an ice- cream, a pint a pint and a mile a mile, we have to learn to call a pound a Deutschmark.

IT IS highly amusing to small-minded people like myself to hear the outraged bleating of all those temporarily deprived of huge amounts of free money in the latest electricity sell-off. I am, however, very worried by what the drop in share prices will do to the share option packages of the senior management of National Power, PowerGen and all the regional companies.

Presumably these will have tumbled in value, and many electricity bosses will find themselves in the awful position of having to take home less than half a million quid next year, thus having a complete lack of incentive for carrying on with their excellent work of shovelling their employees on to the dole. The electricity companies must hold emergency board meetings next week, at which they can compensate their senior executives by awarding them at least 200 per cent increases in basic pay.

I WENT up to see a friend of mine last week who is training to be a lay priest in the Roman church. The words "gay" and "priest" are not, of course, synonymous - not all gays are priests, but according to him just about all trainee priests are gay. My friend is celibate, but if he fell in love with someone he has said he might reconsider his vocation, and most of his colleagues find themselves in a similar position.

So if the Church wants to keep up its stock of priests and therefore its attendances, it's going to have to do something. Last time the Church faced a serious decline in its attendances - the Reformation - it burnt people at the stake, thereby turning a blind eye to that bit in the Bible that says, "Thou shalt not kill". Can it not turn a blind eye to Leviticus?

As for the Church of England, I fail to see how it can lecture any man on his personal relations, having been founded by someone who divorced two wives and chopped the heads off two others.

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