Letter: Solutions for Britain's economy

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The Independent Online
Sir: Matthew Symonds's column (22 September) shows the same contempt for the preferences of ordinary citizens as has the Government and the leadership of the Opposition. In extolling the virtues of a return to the exchange rate mechanism, he writes:

If we give up on inflation now, we will have betrayed all those who have lost businesses, jobs or houses during this recession - their suffering will have been rendered pointless.

For the term 'betrayed' to be appropriate we have to assume that the priorities of the Government are the same as the priorities of the 'suffering'; otherwise, those who have lost their jobs may already feel irretrievably betrayed and that further suffering is pointless, anyway.

One wonders whether such an assumption is safe. Of course, one way to find out the priorities of the public in such matters is to ask them, perhaps by referendum. But then, as with Maastricht, referendums deny governments the luxury of pretending that the public's priorities are exactly how they want them to be.

I have always distrusted pro- European arguments that run: 'We may not like the Europe that the Community is proposing, but we want to be at the heart of it, so we'd better go along reluctantly.' Surely, the only way to end up at 'the heart' of something is to stick up for what you want and try to persuade others to follow your lead.

Yours faithfully,

SAM FREMANTLE

York

22 September

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