Everywhere I go I sense a feeling of inevitability - the
inevitability of our absorption into a federal Europe with a single
currency and a single government, theoretically answerable to a single
Parliament. It is not, of course, what a majority of the people want.
Otherwise The Sun would be for it and Tony Blair would have had his
referendum and be joining a single currency in January’s first wave. But
the fact is that people believe they will be paying in euros before they
are much older.
The current atmosphere is a triumph for the PR of inevitability. We have
never been keen on being in what has been successively described as the
Common Market, the EEC, the EC and now, pretentiously, the EU.
Indeed, we only joined in the depressed 1970s because we felt there was
no alternative. But since we have been in - and especially over the past
15 years - we have been shepherded remorselessly down the road towards a
federal Europe, which Oskar Lafontaine, the undiplomatically honest
German finance minister, now cheerfully admits is his goal. Why, even
Peter Mandelson was recently reported declaring in Spain, though not in
Britain, an ambition to ’reunify Europe’.
The process by which we have been brought to the brink of surrendering
whatever sovereignty we have left will become a compulsory course in
strategic PR in the next millennium.
It has been as ruthless as it has been so far successful, distinguished
not by honesty or transparency, rather by manipulation of the truth and
downright deception. But, whatever methods have been employed, it is a
textbook example of how over time to bring an unwilling horse to water
and, as everyone expects, to make it drink.
Nuclear power is also a classic example of the PR of inevitability. Over
the past 25 years the ’greens’, helped immensely by the nuclear
industry’s palsied PR, have, with similar ruthlessness, worked to close
it down by terrifying people about uranium, plutonium and radiation and
trying to price it out of the market by demanding gold-plated,
belt-and-brace safety measures. And, in its last two energy
publications, the Government has effectively written the industry off.
We are, it seems, facing a non-nuclear, European future.
Everything depends on two things: whether Europe can launch a single
currency on the current global sea of financial trouble and whether the
world can avoid climatic change without nuclear power.
Students of PR in the 21st century may well come to discover a twist in
the tale - that the PR of inevitability only works up to a point, Lord
Copper. Eurosceptics and nuclear engineers know it ain’t all over till
the fat lady sings.