Nothing more divides the body politic of Britain than Europe, since
we are all Thatcherites now. The Tories’ split contributed to their
election defeat and Europhiles such as Michael Heseltine and Lord Howe
remain publicly at odds with William Hague’s ten-year wait-and-see
policy over a single currency. Even Tony Blair is torn between a natural
desire to boss Europe and his recognition that his passport to
respectability - joining the Euro - is a risk.
Industry is also split, as the recent letter from 18 top bosses to the
Sunday Times has underlined. And no one can argue that the likes of Lord
Hanson, Sir Anthony Bamford (JCB), Sir John Craven (Lonrho) or Henry
Keswick (Matheson), all signatories, are little Englanders. The world is
The reality is that roughly two-thirds of the British people believe
that a genuine European single market, still a long way from being
realised, is a splendid idea. But they are against being governed from
Brussels whose interference, they think, is already grossly excessive
and should be reduced. The rest either don’t care or, like Sir Edward
Heath, worship at the Euro-altar. Therein lies the PR industry’s
opportunity: to turn opinion round. But let’s be clear what we are
taking on before we join Mr Blair’s weaselly-worded ’patriotic alliance’
of people ’who are in favour of Europe but in favour of a reformed
Europe’. Talk about having it both ways!
After briefing at 31 consecutive European Councils, I know that Europe
is run by a Franco-German alliance which won’t have Britain at its top
table. They resent us, while at the same time taking our money and
recognising our international respectability. The Europe they have
fashioned, by buying and bullying the smaller fry, is elitist and
And this elite, including some Britons, have conspired in the most
deceitful way imaginable to land us with a United States of Europe
before we could block it. They are a long way down the track. They need
a single currency to cement it into place. But why should we be dragged
into something we don’t want and which the signatories to the Sunday
Times letter say could be ’disastrous for Britain’?
There are three seductive arguments for a single currency. It would save
on exchange costs, protect our attraction of inward investment and
enable us to influence the pace, direction and destination of the
Euro-train since we would then really be on it. But, leaving aside the
massive constitutional implications, what do the last two arguments
imply? Well, if words mean anything, it is that, unless we sign up,
Europe will sideline and discriminate against us.
The mafia are making us an offer we can’t refuse. Not the best basis for
a PR campaign.