As I am no longer young and spring is a long time coming, my Easter
thoughts turned to a pretty little PR examination test: ‘You have been
engaged to promote a single European currency. Please discuss’.
By way of clarification, you have not been engaged to sell the Euro, as
it is called, to the sceptical British public. A single currency is the
subject of party political controversy in Britain. It is not therefore a
suitable case for promotion here, whether paid for with sterling or
ecus, unless, in the interests of stimulating public debate, the
Government were to give exactly the same sum to the antis to argue
That’s not on in the foreseeable future. So, you will have to polish up
your German and French who do things differently. You will also have to
sell a single currency differently in different countries, which is not
exactly encouraging when the Euro is supposed to be the cement that
would bind the misnamed European Union. In Germany, for example, the
people, not to mention their canny bankers, are fearful lest the
Italians or Greeks get their profligate hands on the management of the
D-mark, alias the Euro. Already, the crafty are hedging their bets by
buying Swiss francs. (NB. the Swiss refused to touch the EC with a
The French, for all their arrogance in believing that they can manage
the Germans, are wondering why so many should be put out of work by
trying to keep up economically with them through their franc fort, which
is the next worst thing to a single currency.
But these are only details. You will need to address yourselves to a
more basic question: why do we need a single currency? The conventional
answer is to facilitate a single market. But you don’t need a single
currency to do that. Years ago the British proposed a common currency -
the ecu - for dual use alongside pounds, pesetas etc.
It went down like a lead doubloon, even though a common currency could,
by common usage, have eventually become a single currency. Why? Because
it is gradualist, pragmatic and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl is in a
hurry. He is scared witless by his own people. He believes their
nationalism will march again unless it is sunk in a single Euro-state -
with, inevitably a single Euro currency.
So, the case for a single currency is not commercial or economic, it is
political. It is to put the Germans in a cage. Promoting a single
currency thus raises delicate ethical problems for PR companies such as
how to present the underlying truth? In the interests of PR’s
reputation, we had better keep a close eye on how they do it. After all,
we shall partly pay for it.