Countdown To The Euro: Britons expect to join euro
Wednesday 30 December 1998
At the beginning of this month, a poll found 53 per cent of Britons would vote against joining if a referendum were held now. Only 29 per cent would vote in favour while the rest said they did not know.
But yesterday, a Gallup poll showed that four-fifths of the electorate believed it was inevitable that Britain would join the euro "sooner or later".
Equally, 58 per cent recently told ICM that Britain could not afford to stay out of the euro if it proved to be a success.
Moreover, there are clear signs of flux. Opposition rose after Britain was forced out of the euro's predecessor, the exchange rate mechanism (ERM), in 1992. And it ratcheted up again in the wake of the banning of British beef from European markets in 1996.
The same effect has been seen in recent weeks. When the spectre of European tax harmonisation was raised in November, opinion once again swung against the euro.
What the pro-single currency campaign needs is good news from Europe. Lower mortgage rates might, for example, prove an attraction; yet so far only one in ten of us recognise it as such.
And, of course, the pro-single currency campaign needs the backing of the Government. Until recently, there were signs of a slow drift in favour of the euro.
A 27-point lead for opponents of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) just before last year's general election had dropped to 19 points by September. But that gain largely disappeared after the tax harmonisation row.
This Government makes rather friendlier noises about Europe than the previous Conservative one. But it will need a far more clear and sustained lead from ministers if public opinion is to be changed.
The Government, of course, will worry about the media. Yet whether individual newspapers have much influence on their readers is doubtful.
After all, readers of the largely pro-European Mirror are less keen on a single currency than are those of the Eurosceptic Daily Telegraph. What appears to matter is not how newspapers slant the news, but whether the news they have to report is good or bad for the single currency in the first place.
The challenge for those who wish to join the euro is to make sure the news is good.
John Curtice is deputy director of the ESRC Centre for Research into Elections and Social Trends
Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas
- 2 Scottish independence: Learn from Quebec's mistakes and beware of promises. Vote Yes.
- 3 'Necrophilia-obsessed' girl among double murder accused in three-way sex case
- 4 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
Thailand beach murders: Thai PM suggests 'attractive' female tourists cannot expect to be safe wearing bikinis
Scottish independence: Final opinion polls show undecided voters could swing result either way
Isis release 'Flames of War' video warning Obama of attacks troops could face in Iraq
Jennifer Lawrence 'naked sex video' will be leaked next, threatens 4Chan celebrity photo hacker
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Are you a qualified secondary...
£100 - £105 per day + Travel Scheme plus free professional training: Randstad ...
£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Are you a qualified secondary...
£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Science Teacher - NewportKey ...