Don't touch the euro, Maude, or we'll all have rabies

The Agreeable World of Wallace Arnold
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The Independent Online
I HAVE the greatest respect for Miss (Msss!) Maude Francis, our new Shadow Chancellor. Shrill she may be, but she is also most effective. Indeed, it seems to me sometimes as though she represents nothing less than our last bulwark against Chancellor Kohl and his garlicky army of mad-eyed Eurocrats.

I'm delighted, too, to see that the new editor of the Sun, bless him, has been persuaded by the womanly wiles of Maude Francis to come out firmly against Mr Blair. "Is THIS the most dangerous man in Britain?" the Sun asked last week, alongside a photograph of the Prime Minister grinning his absurd little minor public school grin. I trust that in forthcoming issues that estimable organ will encourage villagers and townsfolk the nation over to organise "protest groups" with pitchforks and cycle-chains whenever Mr Blair is spotted in their locality, forcing the dread man to "move on" to places where his Euro-fanaticism represents no threat to ordinary women and children in the street.

As a - perhaps even the - leading Eurosceptic, might I take this opportunity to highlight one or two little-known threats to our nation from the proposed single European currency. We ignore them at our peril.

If Britain shoehorns itself into EMU, it is our businessmen who stand to pay the price. Recent figures show that there is a serious threat of rabies from the import of a single European currency into this country. Everyone from supermarket assistants to Captains of Industry stands to contract rabies by the year 2008 from handling the ecu. Even if a conservative figure of only one-in-10 adults in Britain contracts rabies, there will be a serious threat of disruption to our main-line trains as commuters and railway staff are savaged by rabid fellow-passengers, and the increased workload on our already hard-pressed police and ambulance services could well send domestic rates sky-high, leading to rampant inflation.

The soaring cost to their pockets of signing up to the single currency will mean that anything up to 50 per cent of ordinary, decent Britons will have their own homes reclaimed. They will face the further humiliation of seeing them occupied by all sorts of nationalities - Eskimos included - while they stand freezing outside with little protection against the elements but the leaves they stand up in.

The Eskimo represents a further threat to British prosperity under the EMU. Under a little-known clause, ratified by the grey men of Brussels, all Eskimos will be entitled to a British passport. The country will then be flooded by Eskimos claiming their "rights" (dread word!). Their native addiction to Fox's Glacier Mints, combined with their country's poor record on litter-bins (only one per 50,000 citizens) means that Britain will become a litter hotbed - and hotels, restaurants and many other public places will be forced to reduce their temperature to unacceptable levels so as to accommodate the fur-laden, cold-blooded Eskimos as they barge their way on to the best tables, fishing rods in hand.

Under draconian new anti-sexistEuropean Union legislation, the great British Bobby will have to be renamed the Great British Betty. "This will have a severe effect on police morale," says Sir Paula Condon, Chief Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. "My lads will be taunted on the street by known trouble-makers, making law and order the outright loser."

By a similar far-reaching change to current legislation, many great British towns and cities at present "twinned" with mysterious outposts in Europe will find that this was simply an interim measure: from April 2001 they will become a province or adjunct of the town or city with which they are at present "twinned". Thus Basingstoke will be ruled from La Gorga, a small town in Sicily, said to be a key haunt of the Mafia, and its citizens will be expected not only to speak fluent Italian but also to pay the Mayor of La Gorga a minimum 15 per cent of their pre-tax income to ensure that their shops, houses and close relatives remain upright.

The proposed new pounds 5 Diana, Princess of Wales coin will be altered overnight to incorporate the features of Chancellor Kohl. The new Diana, Princess of Wales commemorative garden outside Kensington Palace will be cemented over to make way for a Jacques Chirac commemorative sculpture in hideous lime greens and oranges. And finally, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother will be cruelly tethered to a post in nearby St James's Park and ritually beaten by Muslim extremists.

Is this really the future we want for this great country of ours? I think not. And Maude Francis agrees with me.