Lawson: Don’t waste the euro crisis

John Rentoul

lord nigel lawson of blaby 370x229 300x185 Lawson: Dont waste the euro crisisOne of the consolations of the eurozone crisis, apart from the Schadenfreude, is that of hearing George Osborne lecture the eurozone members on how they need a common policy on tax and public spending, and closer political co-operation, to make the euro work.

It is the corollary of the Conservative Party’s argument against Britain adopting the euro – that it would require closer political union to work – but it is still entertaining to hear our Chancellor advocating a policy for others that is precisely his reason for rejecting euro membership for us.

Now, however, Nigel Lawson, Osborne’s predecessor, has expounded the opposite argument, in an article in The Times (pay wall). He argues that the euro crisis is a “golden opportunity” to force a renegotiation of the founding treaties of the European Union to take the whole EU in the opposite direction.

The notion that “more Europe” must always be promoted, that there is no acceptable end to the process of integration short of a full-blown United States of Europe, and that the watchword must always be that of “ever closer union” has to be explicitly abandoned.

And this requires not merely a declaration to that effect, but its embodiment in a full-blown constitution that sets out the entrenched and unalterable competences and responsibilities of the member states of the Union — the very reverse of what is contained in the anti-constitutional Lisbon treaty.

The implication is that euro is going to break up and that it should be allowed to do so: there is no point in trying to promote greater unity of EU core to save it.

He is probably right, and most Conservatives agree with him, but David Cameron and his Chancellor cannot possibly say it.

Could European policy break the Tory party again?

Thanks to Benedict Brogan’s Morning Briefing for the tip.

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  • Wuffo the Wonder Dog

    We didn’t decide to the Euro, we haven’t, but Kenneth Clarke, Michael Hestletine and Tory Central Office still want us to join though, whether we are in or out, we still pay more than any one else for the maintenance of this financial Ponzi scheme.

    Now you state that we got kicked out of the ERM. Then why do all you lefties berate Norman Lamont for getting us out of the mire that the ERM was?

  • harrymeadows

    First of all I am not a leftie.

    Second we DID decide to join the Euro. That is the only conscious and voluntary decision the UK made on the matter. The reason why we didn’t join, was because we allowed the pound to be bullied by speculators so that we proved incapable of controlling our own currency on an international stage.

    It was only after we were kicked out of the ERM for failing to keep the GBP within a fixed band compared to other EU states, that people began to “recall” that we had “decided” not to join the Euro, and that “we all hate the Euro” anyway.

    Finally, I don’t have any up to date figures for this but last I heard GERMANY paid by far the most (both in terms of initial payments and NET, after all the rebates, funds and so forth). Which is what you would expect from the richest, and most economically active nation.

    But don’t let facts stand in the way of your religious beliefs.

  • Laurence

    The key to European unity is neither economics nor politics, but ideology. A nation is a group of humans sharing a common xenophobia. Unifying Germany remained a pipedream till Bismarck kicked Austria out and could then make France the common enemy. De Gaulle was right: A UK controlled by England can only act in Europe as an American Trojan Horse. Uniting the EU needs expelling England and cultivating anti-Americanism as its fundamental principle. Scottish separation from England can only help this process, assuming of course a united EU is seen as something desirable: many of us still regret Bismarck’s success in Germany!

  • kaefer71

    What do you mean by free trade? That one country can state-support its industries to the detriment of other countries and then dump its goods in another country, that cannot afford such state-support? I could cite the case of the USA and Mexico where agriculture is/was subsidized by the US so that produce could be exported cheaply to Mexico and thereby destroyed Mexico’s agriculture.  If you want free trade, then you must harmonize to get some kind of level-playing field.  

  • kaefer71

    Nor are there any circumstances where Great Britain can lecture other countries – politicians in the UK are just not qualified – but that is precisely what it’s doing with Germany.

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