The Euro Debate: Persuading the People is a new book which has been published by The Federal Trust, and which aims to help you "make up your mind on the facts and on the arguments".

The aim of the Federal Trust is "to enlighten public debate on federal issues of national, continental and global government." In addition to the editor, and Robert Worcester, it includes the essays of 15 contributors, split 10/5 for the single currency.

Editor Roger Beetham acted as Roy Jenkins' spokesman in Brussels when he was President of the Commission at the end of the 70s, and believes a referendum is essential in order to "settle the argument, if possible once and for all" and to "separate the issue from the election of a government", because a general election victory is not a sufficient mandate on such an important constitutional issue.

Robert Worcester, Chairman of MORI, sets the scene and believes that the people should have a choice on the euro because "once sovereignty is given away it will never come back. Shared sovereignty is lost sovereignty".

He does not believe that the Government will call a referendum in the lifetime of this parliament, 2001-2005, because the 2002 introduction of the euro could be chaotic and a referendum in 2003 is more likely to turn into a vote on the standing of the Labour government.

However, he says that by the time of the next General Election it will be apparent to even the Conservatives that Britain cannot remain outside the single currency and still have a future in Europe.

From our perspective, this suggests that pro-sovereignty activists will have the opportunity to capitalise upon the developing "either in or out" tension, provided they are able to present a real alternative.

Worcester also points out that by 2005, the British population will be acquainted with the euro in everyday transactions and will be more acclimatised to the idea. More than 50% of Britain's leading retailers will accept the euro next year and the euro-backers are hoping familiarity will breed consent.


The late Lord Shore reminds us in his article that "we are one of some 190 separate sovereign nation states which are members of the United Nations. In terms of economic power we rank fifth in the size and wealth of our economy; we are one of the five permanent and veto wielding members of the Security Council of the UN; we are a founder state and still a leading member of the 54-strong Commonwealth with a presence in every continent in the world; and we are a leading member of the 19 strong NATO Alliance. In addition we have security and alliance relations with the United States that are indeed of a special kind, and a diplomatic reach and influence unequalled by another European nation state. Furthermore we have a military capacity, nuclear and conventional, that places us in the first rank of military powers."

Some would argue Britain has the fourth largest economy, and Lord Shore could have added that English is the world's language. In these circumstances, the idea that we would be "unable to make it on our own" outside the EU, or eurozone, is absurd. And, anyway, if little Switzerland can do it, so can we.

Lord Shore demonstrates the falsity of the claim that the euro is an economic decision only. If that is so, then why bother having a referendum? Clearly the government acknowledges that it is a political decision, which will push us into "a kind of Babylonian capital inside the European Union, with the power to make the policies that affect us, and the laws that we must obey in our own land, transferred to unelected and foreign officials in Brussels and Frankfurt."

Nigel Farage MEP in a sometimes quite philosophical essay, makes a case for "the nation" as a political construct. He predicts that it is only a matter of time before the EU breaks up and "small-is-beautiful" government makes its return.

He sums up opposition to the euro: "at the last, it matters not what we call the units of our national currency, but merely that we have a national currency and thus control over our national destiny. The right to set interest-rates and to impose taxes in response to national needs and aspirations is fundamental to democratic government, and the 'harmonisation' of taxes and interest rates by an unelected, and therefore unaccountable, body is at once inequitable and ecologically destructive."

Janet Bush is Director of New Europe which supports membership of the EU but opposes single currency membership. She believes that the loss of control over all the major levers of economic power dwarfs any of the claimed benefits of joining the euro.

She notes, "The 'project' is being built with very little popular consent and well in advance of the instincts and wishes of ordinary Europeans. None of the existing members of the eurozone were given a referendum on joining the Euro and the only country that has so far had a referendum - Denmark - has voted no." She notes Britain's present economic strength and states that we should make a positive choice to stay out - rather than a defensive choice built on out-of-date perceptions of economic decline.

Ruth Lea, Director of Policy at the Institute of Directors, offers a purely economic analysis of why it is not in our interests to join the single currency "for the foreseeable future."

She addresses the "3 million lost jobs if we stay out" scare stories: "The 'analysis' behind this curious statement is that jobs relying on our exports to Euroland will be 'lost' if we don't join the Euro, because the rest of the EU will be viciously protectionist and stop buying our goods. Well, such behaviour would break every rule in the EU and WTO trading book and, as we have a visible trade deficit with the rest of the EU, would not even be in our EU partners' trading interests. There is also the curious assumption that we would not 'find' the jobs currently 'lost' by imports from the EU if we were to stop trading with the EU."

Bill Cash MP says the referendum should address the wider question of who governs Britain: "The countries of Europe should be given the choice between belonging to a sphere ruled by European government; or they could join an Associated European Area which would be purely intergovernmental and solely concerned with the promotion of free trade. Following a 'no' result in a referendum on the question of European government, I believe that the United Kingdom would be ideally placed to play a leading role in establishing the Association." He's written about this idea in his booklet, Associated not Absorbed.


David Clark was special advisor to Robin Cook from 1994-2001 and believes that opposition to the euro is wide, but shallow, and can be turned round. He claims Britons would vote for it if they thought it would be good for the economy and because many people regard it as "inevitable" anyway.

He suggests that the Government should make a "patriotic case" for the euro. They should make it clear that "the politics and economics of European integration are indivisible" and that Britain's political strength will be enhanced, not weakened, by being part of a global counterpart to the dollar.

Importantly for us, he admits that if giving up the pound is seen as an end to national independence then "it is difficult to see how a referendum can be won."

Ernest Wistrich was Director of the European Movement, and masterminded the 1975 campaign for Britain to remain a member. In the 1975 referendum, people were merely validating the status quo and, this time round, it will be harder for his side to get them to vote for change. His recommendation is to replicate the essential feature of the 1975 referendum, which was "to speak with many diverse voices in favour, each constituent group arguing the case from its own distinct interest."

Lord David Simon was a Minister in the first Labour government of 1997 and his argument tends to play on the fear, among some, that Britain would be isolated outside of the EU, or even just outside of the euro, and would lose control over its own future.

In order to counter this, we must emphasise a new European relationship, which is not based upon centralised political and economic control, but is based upon sovereign self-determination for all the nations of Europe. The October 2000 issue of Sovereignty suggested the SANE alternative - Sovereign Association for the Nations of Europe. Moreover, we should emphasise our strengths as Lord Shore has done in his article.

Sir Roy Denman is a former international trade negotiator and EC Ambassador to Washington. He emphasises the alleged economic benefits of the euro, although it is questionable the extent to which his arguments about "interest rates", and "exchange rates" and "business cycles" are likely to convince the average person. Many of us are too confused by economic mumbo jumbo to be able to make any meaningful judgement.

Indeed, it is absurd and cruel to expect the population at large to have a considered opinion on the "long-term equilibrium exchange rate". Phd professors can't agree on it ... whatever it is, and the future of this country shouldn't be decided by it.

Moreover, economic forecasts can only ever be short-term anyway. Economics is not an exact science.

Listen to Bill Jamieson, who was the Economics Editor for the Sunday Telegraph before he left last year to become Editor of the Business section of The Scotsman. In his final article as Economics Editor for the Sunday Telegraph he wrote on 2 July 2000: "Let me spill the beans about macroeconomics, unveil a truth so brutal that I could only write these words in my final column ... Let me tell you as I stand at the door marked 'Exit', and with the getaway car revving up. Most of macroeconomics is bunk. Bunk as in tosh, bunk as in hopeless and useless and senseless. Bunk as in no bloody use: the misleading and the partial and the dated and the subject-to-revision in pathetic pursuit of truth long gone."

However, even Sir Roy who devotes so much of his article to the alleged economic benefits, is quite candid in admitting that the euro is part of an on-going political project. "The creation of a single European currency is merely one stage in a historical evolution that began in 1950, which is nothing less than one of the great revolutions in world history, the creation of a European federation".

It is on this political ground that the pro-euro brigade is weakest and it's likely that our strongest assault will be waged from the moral high ground of sovereignty and self-determination.

John Stevens is one of the leaders of the Conservatives at Strasbourg and claims that Britain must choose a future with Europe rather than with America. However, "Europe or America" is not the choice. The choice is between national extinction or national independence.

John Edmonds has been General Secretary of the GMB, "Britain's General Union", (The letters derive from General Municipal Boilermakers, but this phrase is not used) since 1986 and touts the "social legislation" of the EU which he claims has benefited British workers. He believes that "trade union support for the single currency should be fully conditional on the EU's continued commitment to the European Social Model."

However, this is short sighted. From his perspective, it should be wrong to rely on the EU for social legislation. He should be seeking to extract legislation from his own government.

Secondly, he misses the fact that control of the money supply, and subsequent investment for industry, will pass from national government to a European Central Bank. It beggars belief that a trade unionist can support the centralisation of the money supply.

Ken Livingstone believes a Britain outside the euro would be "incompatible in the long run with retaining London's pre-eminence as the financial capital of Europe." We could note, however, that failure to join has not so far had much effect, and it is difficult to see how London's vast financial trade with the world outside the eurozone will suffer.

But, to be frank, the "effect on the City of London" -- whether it is for good or ill -- is not a concern that moves many people, unless they're directly involved. The "City of London" argument is an elite argument, which doesn't connect with people in the street.

Christopher Huhne, a LibDem MEP, argues an economic case for joining and berates eurosceptics for failing to provide "an alternative vision for Britain and its economy in the 21st century." He derides the idea that NAFTA is a realistic alternative. Some eurosceptics would agree that this is jumping out the frying pan and into the fire!

Indeed, it is incumbent upon our side to avoid always arguing within the boundaries set by the present economic system. We should be prepared to consider entirely new ways of analysing the problem and be prepared to advocate entirely new solutions.

For example, the growing "Localisation not Globalisation" economic concepts, and the critique of the present economic system offered by the growing Money Reform movement - and articulated in the books by Michael Rowbotham, The Grip of Death: A Study of Modern Money, Debt Slavery and Destructive Economics, and Goodbye America: Globalisation, Debt and the Dollar Empire - point the way to some real alternatives to the present system.

Developing our arguments in this manner allows us to break out of a debate set by elites, for the benefit of elites.

Simon Buckley is Campaign Director of Britain in Europe. The crux of his argument is that it is "patriotic" to be pro-euro and pro-EU because both are allegedly in the best interests of Britain. This is a line we're going to hear a lot more of.

Neil Kinnock's big idea is that "to exercise influence you've got to be in". However, from our perspective this argument is entirely bogus. We're in the EU right now, we're exercising "influence" and what good is it doing us?