1:  No to the Euro — or No to the Single Currency?

Donald Lowe

It occurred to me some time ago that the Green Party’s opposition to the Euro might need some refinement. This is obviously an ongoing topical issue, and one for which the party could potentially gain considerable political credit, however in our deeply justified disagreement with Blair’s apparent continuing enthusiasm for a Single Currency, we should be careful not to confuse this with any kind of acceptance of the Euro.

To some extent the latter has already occurred. The Euro is now accepted at certain UK businesses, e.g. Wetherspoon pubs — although, significantly, this company has published extensive statements in its newsletters, at the behest of their Chairman Tim Martin, strongly opposing the single currency.

It is the abolition of the pound that we should oppose. We need have no problem with the Euro, as an international currency, coinciding with the pound in the UK. The euro could indeed become a useful alternative to the all-too-prevalent US dollar in international markets.

Both/And, not Either/Or

I was encouraged to hear James Robertson make this point on a recent Radio 4 programme —interestingly, broadcast on the last morning of our Lancaster Conference! Referring back to James Robertson’s notes for the LSE Earth Emergency meeting in May (as published in Sustainable Economics 11/4), he also makes the point there that, although, ‘Replacing the pound with the euro would be a deeply anti-democratic act’, it should be a case of ‘Both/And, not Either/Or’.

Implicit in the call from euro-enthusiasts to ‘join the euro’ is that the pound should be abolished, however we should make clear to euro-enthusiasts that appropriate European integration could be fostered by means of national and continent-wide currencies coexisting alongside each other. This idea is, of course, in-keeping with the principle of concurrent local and national currencies, which the Green Party supports.

No more ‘NO’ campaign

From the political campaigning angle, the underlying agenda of the abolishion of the pound needs to be highlighted, when opposing the call to ‘join the euro’. For this the commonly used slogan ‘No to the Euro’, should be dropped, as this is a bit like King Cnut commanding the tide not to invade England’s coastline: the euro is already here — and probably a good thing too.

‘Keep the Pound!’

If we can agree on this refined objective, we need an updated slogan to reflect this (although I respectfully recommend this with profound apologies to those who have expended much time and money on present banners, posters, etc.!). James Robertson suggests, ‘Forward with the Euro AND the Pound’, however ‘Keep the Pound’, or ‘Save our Pound’ is snappier, and may better reflect the still present threat to our national currency.

Donald Lowe