This Europe: Coming to a theatre near you: 'no' to euro

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The Independent Online

The debate over whether Britain should join the euro is to centre not on Gordon Brown's five economic tests but on claims that the name "euro" sounds like "urine", and that the 50-euro banknote could be confused with a piece of lavatory paper. At least, that is how it will be portrayed in a high-profile advertising campaign launched by the "no" side this summer.

The comedian Rik Mayall will appear dressed up as Adolf Hitler addressing the crowds at a rally modelled on Nuremberg, and telling them that the euro is "inevitable", in a 90-second video the "no" campaign plans to screen at cinemas across the country, according to George Eustice, a spokesman for the campaign.

Harry Enfield will appear as the character Tim Nice-But-Dim. Like Hitler, Mr Nice-But-Dim will be portrayed as a supporter of the single currency, saying "yah to the euro" – but his reason will be that its sounds like "urine".

Vic Reeves, of Shooting Stars, will appear as a lavatory paper salesman holding a wad of 50-euro notes in one hand and rolls of "Buffy Fluff" paper in the other. "I'd rather use Buffy Fluff," he will say.

Comedians have taken centre stage in the debate. On the other side of the argument, Eddie Izzard has been campaigning in favour of joining.

EU citizens who have embraced the euro will doubtless be surprised to discover that this is how the British intend to conduct the debate over the single currency. So much for New Britain – the British are as eccentric and obsessed with lavatory humour as ever.

The £1m "no" campaign, which is funded by business, is keen to emphasise that the video is a mix of the comic and the serious. Also included are the Labour MPs Diane Abbott and Kate Hoey, the musician Jools Holland, and members of the public.

"The pro-euro campaign [is] now entirely dependent on Tony Blair taking the lead," Mr Eustice says. How Mr Blair will feel about hearing the arguments put forward by Hitler remains to be seen.

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