Ignorance of the euro is Blair's fault

Share

The gloves are about to come off in the great euro debate. According to conference papers, Labour's annual gathering this month will see the party endorsing a far more pro-euro stance, laying out the benefits of adopting the single currency and the drawbacks of staying out. Meantime the minister for Europe, Keith Vaz, has drawn the battle lines, attacking a xenophobic press for"pumping up the negative news and playing down the positive".

The gloves are about to come off in the great euro debate. According to conference papers, Labour's annual gathering this month will see the party endorsing a far more pro-euro stance, laying out the benefits of adopting the single currency and the drawbacks of staying out. Meantime the minister for Europe, Keith Vaz, has drawn the battle lines, attacking a xenophobic press for"pumping up the negative news and playing down the positive".

Hang on a minute. If right-wing papers print lies about the euro, much of the blame must rest with a government that has turned reticence about the currency into an art form. Ministers may harp on about the public's ignorance, but whose fault is that? It must lie firstly with the Government, which consistently trundles out junior ministers - Mr Vaz, Stephen Byers or Peter Mandelson - to bat for the euro, while the cabinet big hitters - Blair, Prescott, Brown and Cook - remain silent. It often seems that the Government is keener on highlighting Tory divisions on the euro than in mature debate.

But the euro's supposed champions outside government are also at fault. In particular, the non-party Britain in Europe campaign is a shambles. Following its (much-delayed) launch last year, it has barely registered on the public radar. Well funded, with stellar endorsements and much goodwill, Britain in Europe has been a total flop.

Obviously, with the euro struggling against the dollar, its advocates have faced an uphill task. But that makes it all the more important that they fight the case for jobs, mortgages and stability. Meanwhile, across the North Sea, the population of Denmark is fully engaged in the euro debate: the country is due to hold a referendum on entry within the month. Despite the currency's decline, polls predict a victory, albeit narrow, for Danish entry. The campaign is close, but passionate and informed. None of which applies to the British debate.

If, as widely expected, the general election is held next spring, the referendum on euro entry could follow within months. But if the debate is left at its present level, Tony Blair risks winning the former but losing the latter. He might be wise to alter his priorities, chancing a few seats in what will undoubtedly be a vast election victory, if that is the price of engaging fully in the European argument now.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Service Charge Accountant

£20,000 - £22,000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Property Management Grou...

Head of Sales, London

£70 - 95K OTE £125K. Plus Car,Private Healthcare and Pension: Charter Selectio...

Head of Sales, Milton Keynes

£70 - 90K OTE £125K. Plus Car,Private Healthcare and Pension: Charter Selectio...

Head of Sales, Bristol

£70 - 90K OTE £125K. Plus Car,Private Healthcare and Pension: Charter Selectio...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Russian President Vladimir Putin  

How to deal with Putin without crossing moral red lines

Dominic Raab
Prostitutes face a high risk of contracting HIV, yet they are offered little help from the Government  

Want to rid the world of HIV? Then you can start by decriminalising prostitution

Pamela Das
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game