I couldn't agree more with Commie on this.
We don't know enough as a nation to make a truely informed descision on joining the Single Currency or not.
The Anti-EU campaign has been far more vocal than the pro-EUists... most of the time the more rabid and louder Euroskeptics have simply relied on racism and outright lies as to why we should save the pound, the inch and the crown... God save the Queen.
More often than not they (and many others on both sides of this debate) fail to examine the real issues at stake... with the one matter of sovereignty being handled in a slap-dash manner on many occasions.
If we join the single currency it (the EU) will
effect our economy far more than is currently the situation.
1. Public spendature (from the NHS, Welfare, Police, Fire brigades, Civil Service etc) will be determined by an unelected, semi-accountable, and wholly un-transparent EU body. One which has the concerns of several other member states with their own laws, financial systems, and problems to worry about.
2. Interest Rates and the controls relating to inflation will be out of the hands of the Government and the Bank of England. Inflation and monetary control will have to be dealt with as an EU-wide phenomina, and not tailored to suit individual member states.
3. Taxation (one of the key elements of Economic expansion and retraction) will also be computed at a EU wide level, and whilst Income and Corporations Taxes are likely to remain static across the EU, other taxes will fall prey to even more red-tape and Bureaucracy than they currently face - National Insurance Contributions, VAT, and Stealth Taxes will all fluctuate and then settle down into a rigid pattern. The UK Government loosing control of all UK fiscal policy matters.
This isn't to say that the Euro is a bad thing, or that we should pull out of the EU as some of the euroskeptics have demanded. Membership to the EU has brought us far more wealth and economic stability through free trade and common trade laws and policies than if we had stayed out of 'the club'.
The problem I feel is that - we the electorate have not been given anything like the conclusive evidence (if there is any) that adopting the Single Currency will be of any benefit to the Country as a whole (with the one notable exception of our manufacturing industry who've been clobbered by the artificially high pound and unecessarily weak Euro).
The issue of enhanced membership as a means of countering the Franco-German power-block is certainly an interesting one.
It would appear though, that the newest members (mainly former Sov-Blok countries) are all highly US friendly and anti the current Franco-German attitude, which holds that the EU should move as a trade competitor to the Americas. UK and new EU states (plus a couple of old EU states) are far more US friendly.
It is likely that the Honourable Member for North Texas (Mr Blair) will find the allies to combat the excesses of the evil Gaulo-Hunnish pact... and not need to embed himself within the Single Currency Countries as a second rate player to get a third rate voice in the Euro Parliament.
Finally - Polo - I'm all for democracy, but that doesn't necesarrily mean pure rule by the masses. Responsible politics means doing what is right, even if it is unpopular.
QUOTE (Polocrunch @ May 25 2004, 09:13 PM)
I'd say that public opinion was a damned sight more important for a politician to listen to if he wants to get elected, no matter how ignorant it might be.
Their are times when an ignorant public have thought that their Government should remove all non-whites from these sceptered isles. There was a time when the public called for non-christians to be banned from owning land, holding many jobs, and all forms of public office. There was a time when public opinion was that women should be treated as second class citizens - owned by their husbands and voiceless in parliament.
Now I know you don't advocate any of this... reading your quote - you state that the voting public should be listened to if the politicians want to retain power; wise if not Machivellian advice. On the whole - I actually agree with you, that the public's wishes should be met by those who are supposed to be accountable to and serve the public. You just have to look at the current mess of the Iraq war to get a feel of how right the public can be. But then I am reminded of the calls across the UK by nice middle class voters to kick out all the darkies (Asylum Seekers) and bring back hanging (especially for gays). I don't think that politicians should listen to the Public all the time... there are some things that should not be changed... some things should be protected at the cost of public approval.
As my primary school caretaker once said "Individually people are intellegent, calm, compassionate and logical... as a whole people are scared, stupid, excitable and brutally cruel."