Column inches

Share
Tony Blair announced preparations for membership of the single currency. Here is how some press commentators responded.

Tony Blair mocked the "Thatcher-Portillo-Benn axis" of those who don't believe Britain should join the single currency. Ideologically, I have as little in common with those three as he has; and so do the other members of the [new anti-euro] group ... We are all pro-European; none of us is on the far right and, apart from the odd "wet" Tory, the rest of us are apolitical, centrist or centre-left. We are modern and internationalist, forward-looking and constructive about the EU. We don't care whose face is on our banknotes. But we are all intellectually very dubious about the case for Emu membership.

Mary Ann Sieghart, Times

[Many Eurosceptics] imagine we can remain semi-detached from the rest of Europe, enjoying the benefits that trading with it brings but holding aloof from membership of its common currency. That is a pipe-dream. The real choice is between committing Britain wholeheartedly as a full member of the EU and leaving it altogether.

This is accepted by hard-core Tory Eurosceptics, whose real agenda has always been withdrawal. These ultras cherish the idea that Britain could enter into some new trading relationship with the United States. There are many things wrong with this batty idea but one little difficulty stands out. It goes flatly against the consistent, declared policy of the United States - it wants Britain anchored in the EU. If we were ever to withdraw, the US would not be waiting with open arms. We would be on our own.

John Gray, Express

Blair may be committed in theory to the euro only if it is "a success", but he is in so deep that changing course would involve choking on a massive slice of humble pie. The party of Vichy - Blair, Brown, Heseltine, Clarke, Heath - is eager to sign away the country's nationhood. If they succeed, the railway carriage at Compiegne would be a suitable place to sign up for abolishing the pound and joining the Fourth Reich.

The political landscape has been transformed. Whether Blair wants it or not, the next general election will be dominated by the euro. Even if he were to call off his plan, it would involve confessing to an error of judgement that would still be a key election issue.

Andrew Alexander,

Daily Mail

Blair spoke a lot yesterday. But he actually said very little ... His National Changeover Plan is nothing more than an expensive propaganda weapon to kid the people they cannot say no to the euro. The Sun warned Blair when we backed him at the last election that one giant issue would remain between us - the euro. Of course, the Government is more powerful than Britain's top-selling newspaper. But this issue is bigger than both of us. It is about the future of Britain, about the kind of land generations yet unborn will grow up in ... If Blair kids voters into voting to become a puny little region of a giant United States of Europe, he will go down in history. But not as a hero ... [He] could easily end up the most hated prime minister ever.

Leading article, The Sun

Like the early Fabians, [Tony Blair] is a revolutionary with a horror of conflict. They wanted to achieve socialism without civil disorder; he wants to join the euro without electoral disorder. The Fabians tried to persuade everyone that socialism was inevitable, [he] would like to persuade us all that a single European currency is inevitable. He has even revived the Fabians' favourite slogan, "The inevitability of gradualism".

Bruce Anderson, Spectator

Until now you could barely see Tony Blair move with the naked eye. You had to ask the snail trainers whether he was moving at all. But yesterday, at last, we saw him go with our own eyes and at a cracking pace. When he delivered that great tome of impenetrable technical detail, the National Changeover Plan, it thumped on to the floor of the House with the unmistakable thud of a historic foundation stone ... For the first time he proclaims the euro inevitable and right, his tone and his manner of such authority you might think the argument was all over bar the shouting. But it is not.

Polly Toynbee, Guardian

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Piper Ryan Randall leads a pro-Scottish independence rally in the suburbs of Edinburgh  

i Editor's Letter: Britain survives, but change is afoot

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Some believe that David Cameron is to blame for allowing Alex Salmond a referendum  

Scottish referendum: So how about the English now being given a chance to split from England?

Mark Steel
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam