View Full Version : Chris Patten: Is he right about Europe and the Euro?

14th May 2003, 16:13
Former Conservative Cabinet Minister Chris Patten has lambasted Tony Blair for the Prime Minister's failure to show sufficient leadership over Britain's entry to the single European currency.

Speaking on the Today programme, Patten argued that the entry to the Euro is a profoundly political act, and that trying to dress the issue up as an entirely economic one would insult the British public's intelligence. Ultimately, he argues that our continued prevarication over the Euro is harming our influence in Europe at a time when we need to influence the profound changes being discussed in the Union most.

It seems that the whole Euro debate is hotting up. Yesterday we had Lord Marshall of Knightsbridge along with 26 business leaders (from the likes of Vodafone, Seimens, Boeing, Ford and BP) throwing their weight behind a pro- verdict.

So what does the panel think? I'm not particularly interested in what the economic arguments are, as the 'five tests' seem to be so subjective to be able to say anything you want them to. Rather, what do people think of the content of the debate? Are the public being reliably informed to make a correct decision? Are the political arguments sufficient to ignore any economic arguments? Is Patten right: do we have to decide what we are going to be in Europe, totally in or totally out? Is there a common ground, or are we doomed to the current position, where decisions are increasingly taken without our input but directly concern us?

14th May 2003, 16:38
Whilst a good idea in theory it seems tied to the creation of a superstate that is non elected.

Good theory, bad reality.

tony draper
14th May 2003, 16:43
Stuff the Euro, I' m agin anything thats drags us closer to the bloody EEC, I hope the entire edifice self destructs then we can go back to what it was intended, a common market, and a common market only, not a squabling back up mob for a greater bloody France.

14th May 2003, 19:41
As soon as this, like so many issues, pops up we all race for our entrenched positions. I haven't seen much illustrative debate on the pros and cons (perhaps because the newspapers do it too), but the very fact that the multinationals want it makes me terribly uneasy.

Send Clowns
14th May 2003, 20:14
Before the Euro existed the pro-Europe politicians said we should join as it would be a strong currency to help our economy. When the Euro turned out to be weak, the same people said that our economy was being damaged by a strong pound (that was just a lie at GB£1 = US$1.41 - the pound was stable, the Euro weak and the Dollar strong). Now the Euro is recovering I assume we have to be in again for a strong currency (the strong currency sending Germany towards deflation). If even the people who want the currency cannot decide why, how can anyone honestly support it?

The economic argument is against the Euro. The political one is important, however Princess Tony lies.

14th May 2003, 20:18
Whether a good or a bad thing the quality of debate is pathetic. Those in favour merely pronounce, without any proof, that there are clear economic benefits and that those opposed are small minded racist dinosaurs who should be ignored due to their clearly zenophobic views.

Those against quote detrimental economic effects (without proof) and mourn the loss of sovereignty, tradition and accountability.

Quite frankly most pub arguments are conducted on a higher level. :rolleyes:

Chris Patten is right, its a purely political move in fact I think Labour would accept a reasonably small economic loss in order to tie ourselves to Europe for the foreseeable future. The European culture has been very much a socialist one since the end of the second world war, hardly something which the conservatives wish to be part of but a big draw for the proper socialists.

Personally I am entirely against the idea, the economic problems across the EU are now well documented with price rises apparently inherent in the system and the original treaty obligations of France and Germany being, or about to be, flouted.

Interestingly however the Euro itself, after a woeful dip has been recovering slowly of late, though it is still not achieving the foreign currency valuations so confidently expected of it. It is rather difficult to see why this rise has happened with the major European economies in trouble, France and Germany facing possibly severe economic consequences for their nationalistic posturing (which looks to include significant military costs due to recent pronouncements) and no healthy economic signs on the horizon. Could it be that the Euro is also being propped up for nationalistic reasons?? If so Mr. Soros and friends will be taking a very close look at the European economy I feel.

Since the inception of the EEC, coal mining collective or whatever economists have promised significant returns and rationalisation should greater European integration be achieved. Indeed when membership was first applied for (and vetoed by France) the UK's GDP was equal to that of France and Germany combined and the EEC mooted as a way to prevent further slippage in economic power. Such advantages have evidently not materialised however it is not possible to say that UK plc would not be in a worse position without membership.

However it is now transparently clear (as has been argued by those opposed to the EEC all along) that the eventual aim is to have a single entity in control of all european policy decisions, certainly not what we signed up for in the 1960's. The ramifications of this after the recent conflict wrt foreign policy are obvious and the intentions towards the United States equally clear. It is also clear to me that the powerhouse of the European economy is, strangely enough, central Europe, we are merely a peripheral island with massive strategic implications.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. :)

14th May 2003, 20:26
The EU is an extreme case of mis-selling. The Common Market was one thing, to try to extend it to a power bloc run by an appointed and self-perpetuating bureaucracy is extremely dangerous and to be avoided. The nations which comprise Europe have widely differing histories, institutions and legal systems, and should be allowed to keep them without interference.
The thing was unmanageable before enlargement, now the task is even more clearly beyond the midgets in Brussels. As we can well see as we look around, there are few, if any, governments presently doing a decent job of managing their own countries, let alone a diverse range like Europe.
To be told what is good for us by an ambitious and self-seeking [email protected] like Patten is unacceptable. Watch out, he'll be doling out grants to fill in the English Channel soon.
Just a few thoughts from a middle-of-the-roader. I'll arm the ECM now.

18th May 2003, 06:05
Has Patten been right about anything?

He screwed up in the UK, and was banished to HK where he screwed up again.

He then demanded the long effective law about rabid dogs be changed so he could bring his pathetic lap dog back into the UK.

He was then given an undeserved big salary job in Europe.

The bloke is a pathetic useless scrounger.

Why waste a question and breath on him?

Training Risky
21st May 2003, 17:36
Yes, why do failed politicians who screw up (Patten/Kinnock) go to Europe where they seem to excel? What do they actually do that is of any substance? Anyone know? (I don't consider endless directives and meddling in social affairs to be useful)

It seems to the majority of us that Brussels is one big gravy boat (like the train, but slower and you can take bigger helpings), where the salaries and expenses are disgustingly over-inflated, and the output ludicrous.

We should definately get a referendum on the constitution, and anything else to do with Europe. The problem is though, that if the wrong answer is given, we'll have another, and another, until the right answer eventually comes back. Just like in Ireland and Denmark.

Oh, and Chaffers:

those opposed are small minded racist dinosaurs who should be ignored due to their clearly zenophobic views.

I don't consider the majority of the population who are against the Euro to be racist. Perhaps you are a bigot for suggesting so? (And the word is Xenophobic)

The point about power blocs is correct.

The USA works because they have common history, ideology, language, etc.

Now look at the Roman Empire, Napoleon's Europe, Hitler's Europe, the Soviet Union...

You can't force 15 or more totally different sovereign nation-states into economic, and ultimately political union.
We all have different economies and separate needs.

And I fear the only reason that the multi-nationals and top politicians are pro-Euro, is that they stand to make a shit-load of cash..... that's a capitalist's motivation, right?!

Its us, the little people and small businesses that will suffer in the end.