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

Recruitment Genius: UI / UX Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...

Recruitment Genius: General Processor

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: Our representatives must represent us

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
MP David Lammy would become the capital’s first black mayor if he won the 2016 Mayoral election  

Crime, punishment and morals: we’re entering a maze with no clear exit

Simon Kelner
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot