Daily catch-up: Yvette Cooper and I were right all along about Greece and the euro

Plus the latest on Leveson, ‘what works’ and alphabetically consecutive cabinet ministers

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Greek membership of the eurozone is a remarkable example of the persistence of error. It should have been obvious at the start that it was neither good for Greece nor sustainable, and it has been made more obvious since. Yet the Greek people and government seem determined to stay in and the rest of the eurozone is determined to keep Greece in.

The crisis is now so bad that it has re-entered British politics, as it did in 2010, when it was used to help make the argument for the Lib Dems to join the coalition. Yesterday, Yvette Cooper used it to provide a slab of seriousness for her speech to the parliamentary press gallery lunch, saying that when she was a leader-writer at The Independent, she took the view that neither Greece nor Italy should be allowed to adopt the euro.

I am sure she did. I was her fellow leader-writer at the time – 1995 to 1997 – and, despite the Independent’s pro-single-currency stance, we were both sceptical about the whole idea of currency union (it wasn’t even called the euro until later).

Another colleague at the time, Jeremy Warner, now writing for the Telegraph, thinks that Greece’s abandoning of the euro might be good for Britain, because it would allow David Cameron to secure better terms in his renegotiation. Given the contra-rationality of the EU, I think this is most unlikely. First, because I don’t think Greece will be allowed to abandon the euro yet, and Germany can afford to pay to keep it in the eurozone. But if Greece does leave, that will simply make other leaders more stubborn about making changes they don’t want to make.

2. While the crisis is going on, could I reiterate the ban on Greeks bearing gifts, Acropolis Now, all Greek to me, the Greeks shall inherit the Earth, a drachma out of a crisis and all similar clichés. Thank you.

3. Ipso, the press regulator of which The Independent is not a member, wants the Telegraph to “correct” an accurate report of leaked government document. I said this Leveson business was bad.

Update: Matt Tee, chief executive of Ipso, has responded: “We’ve not adjudicated yet. When we do (either way) I’ll send it to you. See if you feel the same then – interested in your view.”

4. What matters in education is what works, but what works? Important contribution to an important discussion by Michael Barber.

5. David Mills pointed out that Andy Burnham’s initials are alphabetically consecutive, and asked for other consecutive-letter cabinet ministers. From just the post-war period, Mr Memory and others came up with: Anthony Barber, Aneurin Bevan, Arthur Bottomley, Barbara Castle, David Eccles, David Ennals, Geoff Hoon, Geoffrey Howe, Hastings Ismay, Michael Noble, Owen Paterson, Osbert Peake and Stephen Timms.

6. And finally, thanks to Moose Allain for this:

“There was a knock at the door. It was a Poetry Inspector, come to read my meter.”