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BS: Should UK join the Euro ?

Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 18 Jun 01 - 10:43 PM
GUEST,john c 19 Jun 01 - 02:42 AM
Linda Kelly 19 Jun 01 - 03:19 AM
Steve Parkes 19 Jun 01 - 03:28 AM
Lyndi-loo 19 Jun 01 - 03:54 AM
John J 19 Jun 01 - 04:10 AM
Dave the Gnome 19 Jun 01 - 06:09 AM
Steve Parkes 19 Jun 01 - 06:16 AM
Skipjack K8 19 Jun 01 - 06:29 AM
paddymac 19 Jun 01 - 07:40 AM
Ringer 19 Jun 01 - 08:58 AM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 19 Jun 01 - 09:20 AM
Ringer 19 Jun 01 - 09:32 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 19 Jun 01 - 09:50 AM
Fiolar 19 Jun 01 - 09:58 AM
Terry K 19 Jun 01 - 10:02 AM
The_one_and_only_Dai 19 Jun 01 - 10:27 AM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 19 Jun 01 - 10:45 AM
KingBrilliant 19 Jun 01 - 10:59 AM
okthen 19 Jun 01 - 11:01 AM
Steve Parkes 19 Jun 01 - 11:04 AM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 19 Jun 01 - 11:06 AM
Steve Parkes 19 Jun 01 - 11:20 AM
Steve Parkes 19 Jun 01 - 11:25 AM
Fiolar 19 Jun 01 - 11:37 AM
Dave (the ancient mariner) 19 Jun 01 - 12:02 PM
Steve Parkes 19 Jun 01 - 12:21 PM
JedMarum 19 Jun 01 - 12:30 PM
JedMarum 19 Jun 01 - 12:32 PM
Skipjack K8 19 Jun 01 - 12:43 PM
Dave (the ancient mariner) 19 Jun 01 - 01:37 PM
GUEST,Canadian Driftwood 19 Jun 01 - 02:06 PM
Grab 19 Jun 01 - 02:07 PM
Steve Parkes 20 Jun 01 - 03:32 AM
Steve Parkes 20 Jun 01 - 03:34 AM
pavane 20 Jun 01 - 04:07 AM
Terry K 20 Jun 01 - 04:21 AM
Ringer 20 Jun 01 - 05:10 AM
dr soul 20 Jun 01 - 06:34 AM
McGrath of Harlow 20 Jun 01 - 06:52 AM
Wolfgang 20 Jun 01 - 07:33 AM
Ringer 20 Jun 01 - 08:00 AM
pavane 20 Jun 01 - 08:01 AM
Wolfgang 20 Jun 01 - 08:50 AM
GUEST,nick 20 Jun 01 - 09:09 AM
Snuffy 20 Jun 01 - 09:13 AM
Ringer 20 Jun 01 - 01:58 PM
Wolfgang 20 Jun 01 - 02:11 PM
Grab 20 Jun 01 - 02:16 PM
JedMarum 20 Jun 01 - 02:56 PM

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Subject: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 18 Jun 01 - 10:43 PM


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: GUEST,john c
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 02:42 AM

I live in Austria, and I tend to travel quite a lot. A quick rumage through my wallet revealed 27 Deutschmarks, 3100 Belgian francs, 20 Bank of Scotland pound notes, 120 Austrian schillings and 20000 Italian lire. Not to mention all the small and totally useless small change I´ve brought back from other countries that I have lying around. In answer to your question - YES!!!
J.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: Linda Kelly
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 03:19 AM

yes- one continent one currency. Cannot understand why people link this with sovereignty. For years if you travelled abroad to Russia, China and a host of other countries you had to use U.S. dollars and noone blinked an eye, The use of the Euro will strengthen EurotradeThe downside? Well it will take the enjoyment out of waiting in the departure lounge and seeing how many useless items you can buy with the coins left over frm your holiday. (Got a lovely plastic kalideoscope in Portugal last year!)


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 03:28 AM

I think the big worry is that this is the thin end of the wedge, and will make it easier to introduce uniform rates of taxation throughout the EU. I seem to remember another continent where the issue of having tax fixed in another country caused serious upheavals. And come to think of it, later on they had more trouble when some states tried to leave their Union ...

Steve


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: Lyndi-loo
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 03:54 AM

Definately. In fact there was a report in the Sunday Times about the euro coming in through the back door with all Virgin stores accepting Euro notes from January 1st and selected Marks & Spencer and other stores also doing this. They've already had their tills fixed to show prices in pounds and Euros. The only thing is that until Britain officialy joins the Eurozone then the exchange rate between the pound and the Euro will vary daily and the tills will have to be recalibrated regularly to reflect this. In fact, I'm in favour of a World currency. How many ponds, euros, lira, france, dollars to the Mundo?


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: John J
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 04:10 AM

All very valid points, and as someone in business who does a small amount of business in Europe the answer must be yes. Many people I speak to (including me, not that I speak to myself, well not too often...) dislike the idea of the loss of the pound.

A buddy of mine came up with an idea: why not alter the value of the £ to equal 100 Euros? Also alter the value of the FFranc = 100 Euros etc etc. Make all the European currencies acceptable in all European countries, and hey presto! No problem with exchange rates, no apparent loss of sovereignty etc. It might be a little messy with different names of currencies, but what is wrong with dual marked currency?

To try to keep a country's currency in it's home country, banks could periodically exchange the different county's currency with one another. BUT that would cost the banks, and we all know how little money the banks make, don't we? (Whoops, sorry Ickle Dorritt!)

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 06:09 AM

I'd go for it. Can we have the same rate of duty on wines and beers as the do in France as well please...;-)

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 06:16 AM

... and can we set fire to their sheep and beat up their lorry drivers too?

Steve


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: Skipjack K8
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 06:29 AM

Yes from me. I do a lot of Dollar and Euro priced business, and I always lose my shirt converting back into Sterling. Afetr we join, I can whine about all the losses dealing Dollars into Euros!

Skipjack


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: paddymac
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 07:40 AM

Currency usages and disputes can sometimes be a substitute for other, deeper concerns. At bottom, any currency is just an agreed substitute for some less portable form of value. Back in the early 1800s, people in what is now the State of Indiana paid their taxes in pelts. Beaver for county taxes, deer for state taxes, and made change with mink.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: Ringer
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 08:58 AM

No.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 09:20 AM

Bald Eagle-Why?


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: Ringer
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 09:32 AM

'Cos it's normal for rats to leave a sinking ship, not to join it. A more considered reply will follow...


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 09:50 AM

I will be interested to see how it works in Greece. Credit cards are unknown outside the cities and mass tourism areas and people even pay their utility bills in cash rather than use cheques. They have a strong preference for wads of drachmae. People hate making change, even when they've got plenty and often round bills down in your favour, how they'll cope with the Euro.....
RtS


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: Fiolar
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 09:58 AM

A certain amount of paranoia is already starting to show about Europe. What difference does it make what the currency in your pocket is called as long as one can buy the normal things of life. Again I think I have made the point before that most of the present inhabitants of the UK came from Europe in the first place. Go back to the 1720s and Britain was ruled by a German for God's sake. How many remember that the good old £/s/d (in the days before decimalisation) which most people thought stood for Pounds, shillings and pence really stood for Libera, solidii and denaraii and was a throw back to the Roman coinage. Does any one now remember the "groat" or the "guinea" and I wonder how many tears were shed when they disappeared. Most anti-European feeling in any case has been stirred up by the bottom feeders of the gutter press who use use headlines as "Up Yours Delors" to sell papers.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: Terry K
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 10:02 AM

If we could reasonably compete with Europe in terms of labour costs and productivity it would be a great idea. So no.

Cheers, Terry


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: The_one_and_only_Dai
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 10:27 AM

Fiolar, we still have the groat, it's 4p. And the Guinea is £1.05 (or is it £1.12?). It occurred to me that the name 'ecu' (for the Euro) was quietly dropped some time ago - I wonder if some German noticed that French coinage a couple of hundred years ago had that very name... Wolfgang?


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 10:45 AM

Thanks for all your replies so far,the reason I ask is Tony Blair has promised us a referendum on this within 2 years, I am still not sure wich way I shall vote, but I think I trust you lot, more than I do this government.Maybe I am been cynical but I feel they will just do what they want anyway.I noticed recently a tin whistle internet site accepting euros, sorry I cant remember which one.john


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: KingBrilliant
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 10:59 AM

Pedigree dogs seem to be still sold in guineas for some reason. Never quite sussed that.
Sounds dead posh though.
Kris


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: okthen
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 11:01 AM

AMAZING! We got through the whole election without mentioning politics on MC (unless I missed something)and now we're discussing something so inevitable as if we could change it.

Oh well

cheers

bill


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 11:04 AM

Americans used to be quite keen on guineas back in the fifties and sixties, as there were, nreas as dammit, three dollars to the guinea. Happy days ...Steve


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 11:06 AM

King Brilliant-Racehorses as well, I wonder it they will rename the 2000 guineas, Somehow the 2000 euros just does not sound right.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 11:20 AM

Well, as 20,000gns = £21,000, this comes to about €31,400 at the current rate of exchange. Kind of trips off the tongue, doesn't it?!

Steve


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 11:25 AM

BTW, I e-mailed Epiphone ages ago and suggested that the euro symbol infringes their trademark, so they should demand a royalty of, say, 1/100th of 1% on the face value of every note and coin issued. They sad "thanks for your loyalty", but I don't kow if they're planning to do it--I expect they'll cut me in if they do!


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: Fiolar
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 11:37 AM

Yes I know the groat was four pence (old money) and the guinea was twenty-one shillings but as currency in today's world, they no longer exist in coin form. Same as the farthing and the half-penny and the half-p piece. Likewise the three-penny bit - all gone and now only seen in collectors books. What about the ten-bob note? As far as I am concerned, the sooner we are part of the larger unit, the better for business not to mention the ease of travel etc.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 12:02 PM

How easy it is to forget that if you surrender your financial control to the European countries, and political control by foreign bureaucrats, you have given away liberty and political freedoms that many died to sustain. Those of who have forgotten history will be forced to relive it the hard way. We have traded for years without surrendering political and monetary controls to others. Think long and hard before doing something that reduces democracy to a single European government. Yours, Aye. Dave ( staunch member of the Commonwealth group of nations)


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 12:21 PM

The Irish Republic has just decided by referendum to reject (for what seem to me perfectly sound financial reasons) plans for the EU to take in more member states; the politicians are very annoyed, because they gave the people the opportunity to chose and they made the wrong choice!


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: JedMarum
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 12:30 PM

One continent - one currency - one government.

I think we should do the same thing in the North America. 'course my US dollars are already worth more then exchange rate for practical use in Central America (and South America for that matter). Now if we could just get those darn Canadians to be so forward thinking!

;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: JedMarum
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 12:32 PM

Steve - I think you hit the nail on the head; next time they won't give the people the choice! After-all; government knows best.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: Skipjack K8
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 12:43 PM

Terry, you make the best defence for standing out here, IMHO. I once heard Norman Lamont describe economies as oil importing or oil exporting, and that European financial integration was impossible as the pressures on interest rates are opposing, ie Germany = oil import, GB = oil export. I don't ever recall him saying anything else that made sense, mind!

It may well be a red herring for the duration of this parliament, as even with a 'yes' vote for a carefully worded referendum question will be a side show to the 'correct conditions', which include what you spake of. These will not be met in the short to mid term, and cannot be 'bought' (i.e. Black Wednesday was about trying to buy stability for the Pound in the ERM - and it cost Lamont £30 Billion of my money in a week to find out Soros was right).

Dave, I agree with you that we should not be hostages to history, and loyal to the memory of the lives that were given to protect our freedom, but we are in Brussels, and hopefully will be 'In Europe, and running Europe'. We either evolve or wither off the coast of an economic bloc that will rival, and probably overtake NAFTA, before the nemesis that awaits all empires.

So yes, when the conditions are right.

Skipjack


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 01:37 PM

The idea of European trade is not something new. We have traded with Europe between and during wars for hundreds of years. My point is that the largest group of trading nations in the world is the Commonwealth. European business is in direct conflict with the UK, why surrender control to a European led bureaucracy? We have damaged our relationship within the Commonwealth by becoming Eurocentric I think its the biggest political and monetary mistake the UK ever made. Having said that; I am not opposed to certain principals of international law and economic cooperation. A single currency is simply not necessary; and as such it surrenders political control to a stateless bureaucracy run by the competition. My God is it possible we could vote in Communism by another name? Think long and hard about it first people. Yours, Aye. Dave


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: GUEST,Canadian Driftwood
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 02:06 PM

Jed, I am in the US earning US dollars. When I go back to Canada for a visit a US dollar goes a long way. On the other hand, the relative strength of the US dollar has protected a lot of Canadian jobs during NAFTA. I can't imagine what a common currency would do for this continent, but I doubt if it would be good for Canada.

Skipjack8 Oil exporters / Oil importers seem to fight quite a bit within larger economies. Texas is a at political odds with New York State as Alberta is with Ontario, as Scotland is with England. Seems like the consuming States/Provinces/nations always seem to have more clout and get their way. I don't think that would change with European union. Energy policy would still be set to favor consumers rather than producers and cities rather than regions where the resource resides.

Commonwealth, what Commonwealth, It hasn't been a significant trading block in a long time. In the long run it makes more sense for Australia and India to trade is Asia, For the UK to trade with Europe and for Canada to trade within America.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: Grab
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 02:07 PM

If every country had the same economic condition, the same types and level of industry, the same government philosophy, the same level of taxation, the same level of national expenditure on health, defence, etc, the same welfare state provisions, then maybe it'd work.

But we have: Greece and Italy, who are not particularly industrialised, are quite poor countries, and have high national taxation and expenditure; Germany, which is highly industrialised with low taxes, whose power stations mainly run on fossil fuels; France, which is highly industrialised and who has a majority (IIRC) of nuclear power stations; etc.

As a side-note, the Mediterranean countries generally have an ethos that bribes, kick-backs and expense fiddles are part of a politician's income. This is not a xenophobic opinion, but the considered findings of the recent investigations into EU corruption. So far there's no sign that this supposed "crackdown" is actually stopping corruption amongst Euro-ministers and their entourages.

OK. So since every country in Europe has wildly different economic conditions, there's no way they can "pull together" on this. Particularly consider Italy and Greece; these are so radically behind Germany in economic terms, it's not even funny. So how can countries with such diverse economic interests set common tax and spending targets? It just ain't going to happen. And once tax and spending are fixed, individual countries are out of options if they want to take their own route on unemployment, encouraging industry or whatever, meaning that they can't take these decisions themselves and will have to ask the central committee to step in - if the central committee is chaired by a country who you've just pissed off, then you can forget it. And then add in the endemic corruption.

What about the old pre-metric currency? Well, what about it? Change 240 old pennies into 100 new pennies, and do the sums. Europe was not a factor. Dragging historical irrelevancies such as the original nationality of the King of England in 1720, or the origins of pre-metric British currency, into this is just as irrational as "Up yours Delors" - neither has any bearing at all on what economic union will give us today.

I'm not against joining a single currency bcos it makes us "less British", or bcos of some "giving away rights that ppl died for" jingoism. I'm against it bcos I can't see any benefits for us, and I can see a lot of ways it can hurt us. Maybe Britain's joining the Euro would strengthen the Euro and stop it slipping further, but I'm not sure it'd do much for Britain.

As far as "withering" without the Euro goes, we're certainly not the only ones without it. Denmark recently rejected joining the Euro, and Norway and Switzerland have both prospered despite not even being members of the EU. The UK has in fact recovered from recession rather quicker than the rest of Europe since ties with the ERM were cut sooner. Incidentally, Norway is also a much closer model for the UK than most other countries, since it too has oil and gas reserves in the North Sea (see Skipjack's post above on oil).

Graham.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 03:32 AM

But they've been proposing a unified taxation system for several years now in Brussels--a significant number of people with clout are taking it very seriously.

The original decimalisation proposal was for the pound to be replaced with something else (an Brit-dollar?) that would be worth ten shillings, with 100 cents to the B$, which is what happened in Australia: the Aussies were mostly) quite happy with the A$ and didn't miss the £. I think it was ailny the conservatives whoi wanted to keep the £. Most people of my age and under are perfectly at ease with the decimal (centesimal!) £--you get used to any change in time.
Steve


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 03:34 AM

Sorry--for "$" read "$". You can tell that Netscape was written by Americans, can't you!


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: pavane
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 04:07 AM

Actually, the introduction of the florin, in the 1800's, worth one tenth of a pound (or 2 shillings) was supposed to have been the first step in decimalisation! The Guinea was a foreign gold coin, and slightly larger than the sovereign, so it was worth more.
Don't forget that Europe has previously had a common currency (In the Roman era), and that didn't last.
As for the Euro, it may be easier for tourism, but it appears we will lose much more in other ways than we gain in convenience. My vote is NO


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: Terry K
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 04:21 AM

Grab, you're right, the fear is that there is more likelihood that joining the Euro will harm us than that it will help us. (Incidentally, Italy is quite massively industrialised!).

My biggest concern is that the referendum vote will be carried by totally unqualified people who quite obviously don't know - and can't know - the real issues. It will therefore be decided on emotional or "gut feel" grounds instead of economics.

The economic keys are interest rates and inflation. With a history of high and widely fluctuating interest rates and inflation rates (mainly because we are a property based economy) we will relinquish several of the tools we currently use to maintain stability. The result will be that when we our economy reverts to its "normal" behaviour, we will simply get fewer Euros out of the common pot. Economic suicide - forget all the emotive side issues.

As to the Commonwealth - ah yes, those were the days. But unfortunately they are'nt any more. I much preferred our lamb trade to be with the New Zealanders instead of with the French.

Cheers, Terry


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: Ringer
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 05:10 AM

...when I have time...

Incidentally, JinH: TB has not exactly promised us a referendum within 2 years; he's only promised that the decision on whether or not to offer us a referendum will be made within 2 years -- strictly, he has said that the Chancellor's "5 tests" will be considered and, if they indicate "pass" then we'll get a referendum. But these 5 tests are entirely subjective, there's nothing quantitative in them at all; how, for eg, can you decide whether it'd be a good thing to join if you don't know the proposed joining rate? Anyway, my objections are much more fundamental than these 5 tests or any question of exchange rates: we'd be giving away freedom. There has been (almost - Dave the AM above is an honourable exception) no discussion of the issue of sovereignty, either in this forum or in the British press (which latter I consider to be culpable for not holding the British Government to account). And I find this strange, 'cos it's the most important thing. For one thing, it's open-and-shut fact whereas the economic benefit is questionable in the extreme. Who was it who said "Those who surrender liberty in exchange for economic gain deserve to lose both"?. (Got a bit carried away here -- hope you noted my restraintin my first posting above. This is not yet my considered reply.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: dr soul
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 06:34 AM

Excellent thread, ya'll.

Please think seriously about the changes that might be necessary to make this happen, and the possible effects on the institutions of Great Britain/England/the rest of the European continent.

My mental map for thinking about institutions:

At the core of society are PEOPLE - individuals, their families, and homes. Any given society has a certain TECHNOLOGY and language. Language will nfluence attitudes about other institutions. Technology is also a prime mover - a change in technology will bring about changes in other social institutions.

There are four primary types of social institutions - government, economy, social welfare, and ideology/beliefs.

GOVERNMENT institutions are how a social group makes rules, selects leaders, and resolves disputes. Government institutions include the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of legitimate governments, as well as the "illegitimate" institutions of political parties, lobbyists, vested interests, etc.

ECONOMIC institutions are how the society makes a living - i.e. agricultural activity, credit institutions (such as banks), the degree of industrialization, the nature of cooperative capital, land tenure, types of industries a county has, etc.

SOCIAL WELFARE institutions are how the society educates its young, takes care of its old, and deals with its indigent and infirm members.

IDEOLOGIC institutions provide values and philosophies. They include organized religions, as well as various philanthropic insituions.

So, as to whether "Should the UK join the Euro?", think of . . .

What institutions will be affected by this decision?

Do the benefits of doing so offset the adverse institutional impacts?

[good luck, mate!]


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 06:52 AM

There may be good reasons to worry about some things about the European Union - worries about things been done centrally that should be done locally, and multi-national companies being given a free hand to exploit people in Eastern Europe as a price for entry, and a reduction of smaller countries to second and third rate status. (See the article in today's Guardianby George Monbiot.

And those were the kinds of things that people were voting against in the Irish referendum last week when tghey threw out the Nice treaty.

But the actual currency is a diversion from all that -"save the pound" would make sense if it referred to weights and measures, which are far more important in daily life than currency. I'd have voted to keep LSD, partly because I was aware of the fact it referred to Roman currency and was a symbolic reflection of European unity. But that's long gone - "Save the L" - what the 'ell...


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: Wolfgang
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 07:33 AM

Bald Eagle, you've been inviting this riposte with your picture about the rats and the sinking ship above (evil grin): Who are the British respectively the UK in this picture, the rats or the sinking ship?

Now a more serious look into history. Since the thirty years war or even earlier, in that part of Europe which later was to become Germany, there was a patchwork of statelets, Earldoms etc, with only Bavaria and, later, Prussia, playing a more than local role. They all had different currencies and taxes and tolls. On a fifty miles journey you could pass several customs. Germany played no major role in Europe. The French under Napoleon at the beginning of the nineteenth century could easily overrun Germany and without foreign (British and Russian, foremost) help, Germany would have been under French rule for a long time.

In all major economic indices of that time, Germany was way behind a country of comparable size, that is Britain, despite having more inhabitants. During the second half of that century the picture radically changed and Germany overtook Britain in many indices of productivity. In other indices, Britain was still in front, but the increase was higher in Germany. What had happened?

In 1838, most countries of Germany entered what we now call a common market (Zollverein was the word then), with abolishing tolls and customs within Germany and simplifying and fixing the rates between currencies. In 1871, a single currency was introduced in Germany and it was a success story despite the loss of sovereignity for the individual countries. The growing strength of Germany went hand in hand with the economic unification.

Well, I can understand if some of you say in hindsight you'd preferred all in all a week patchwork Germany to a strong unified Germany (was it a French or a British politician who said: 'I love Germany that much that I can't have too many [parts] of them'). But speaking only in terms of strength and not in what has been done with the strength, the economic and financial unification of Germany in that century was a success story.

So will the Euro and sooner or later Britain will join, reluctantly.

Dai, I can't help you with your question.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: Ringer
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 08:00 AM

EMU (Economic and Monetary Union (not, note, European MU)) is primarily a political issue: any supposed economic benefits are secondary. Its main objective, freely admitted by its key architects, is a political one - the further integration of the EU into a federal state.

*** Example 1 ***
Wim Duisenberg, President of the European Central Bank: "The introduction of the euro is neither an isolated nor a purely economic event. It is another, yet very important, step in the process of European integration. ... The creation of the euro is not the end of that process either,... economists all too often assess the costs and benefits of European integration in purely economic terms". (Dr. Willem F. Duisenberg 'The Past and Future of European Integration: A Central Banker's Perspective' The 1999 Per Jacobsson Lecture, Washington, 26 September 1999).

*** Example 2 ***
German Chancellor Schröder: the Euro is "an important step on the road to European integration". (Inaugural address to the Bundestag, 10 November 1998)

*** Example 3 ***
Bank of England Governor, Eddie George (OK - he's not a "key architech"): "...monetary union is fundamentally a political project rather than an economic issue." (Speaking at the British-Swiss Chamber of Commerce in Basel, Switzerland, 12 September 2000).

*** Example 4 ***
Arguing that the creation of the euro entails a "federal logic", Michael Barnier, European Commissioner responsible for reform: "...the only question [is] whether the EU should be a federal state modelled on Germany, or whether it should pursue the goal of political union 'through other means'." He conceded that Britain would have "serious difficulties" with his proposals on the abolition of a national veto in all areas of policy. (speaking to a meeting of the Commission on 14 June 2000)

This political dogma of further European integration is the explanation for the willingness of European leaders to press ahead with the Euro, regardless of the economic consequences. But they know well enough that, if ordinary people were to realise the extent of their political hubris, there'd be hell to pay, so they try to sell the project on its economic benefits.

So, first point: joining the Euro is to hand over our economic control to faceless, remote, unelected, undemocratic, corrupt, self-seeking, empire-building bureaucrats. And then there are the economic arguments which I'll address in a later posting 'cos I don't have time now.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: pavane
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 08:01 AM

So should we look out, in the future for Brussels to rule on
Common (Harmonized?!?!)European standards for Folk music (None of those awkward modal tunes)
Mandatory dress codes, either breeches & waistcoat or lederhosen for men
Licencing of all folk dancers
Abolition of Morris Dance as non-European


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: Wolfgang
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 08:50 AM

Bald Eagle sees correctly that the common currency will have more than just monetary or economic consequences. My consequence is different: I'd love to see more (direct) democracy on a European level so that the responsibility for decisions is with persons with faces who can be thrown out of job by elections.

Example #2 from above as a longer citation with context: The common currency is an important step on the road to European integration. But it is only a frame, a frame we have to fill with life. We need a quick and believable democratisation of the European institutions. The Federal Government [of Germany] is convinced that our Europe should not replace or abolish national identities.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: GUEST,nick
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 09:09 AM

1) I live in France. Since France's currency became tied to the Euro (Jan 99) the value of what little savings I have has been reduced by 20%+. Think about that one... You have £100 in the bank - you don't touch it, and a year later, you have only £80 (and prices are still going up...) 2) The cost of changing currencies (printing catalogs, changing computers, banking, printing the notes, etc, etc - just think about it) is phenomenal. 3) When, in Jan 2002, France actually starts to use Euro currency, I guarantee you prices will be rounded UP (to the nearest 99, as in 471 will make its way rapidly to 499, etc...) 4) At present, the euro essentially works by reducing the economies of France, Germany, Italy and the rest to the lowest common denominator... If they can possibly get away with it, they will bring in Poland, Rumania, etc. The value of the euro will then be tied to the economies of those countries... Guess what? My answer to the question is NO (and by the way, I AM English...) Nick


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: Snuffy
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 09:13 AM

Bald Eagle, don't you mean:

So, first point: joining the Euro is to hand over our economic control to faceless, remote, unelected, undemocratic, corrupt, self-seeking, empire-building bureaucrats - but a a different lot to the faceless, remote, unelected, undemocratic, corrupt, self-seeking, empire-building bureaucrats who run it now.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: Ringer
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 01:58 PM

I don't think it is inevitable, Wolfgang. For one thing, if we don't enter within the next few years (say 5), I don't think there'll be a common European currency to join. One function that sliding exchange rates perform is that of a safety-valve. If different countries' exchange rates are locked together, that self-correcting effect is lost. So Germany, now, is pressing the ECB for lower interest rates while Ireland needs higher rates to cool off its inflation. (Irish house prices, I heard, are 30% more than UK equivalents at the moment; don't know if that's true). Give it time, my son, and the sort of public dissatisfaction that was expressed in riots in Gothenburg will bring down governments and destroy the common currency. Sorry to sound like a Jeremiah: please note that my predicting and my wanting public unrest are different things.

As to your longer quotation from Chancellor Schröder, I think that though he talks the democratic talk yet he walks the federalist walk. I don't claim to hang on every word he speaks, but if he is pressing for greater European democracy and accountability, I missed it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: Wolfgang
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 02:11 PM

Bald Eagle,

I hope we'll both be still here in five years. Then we'll probably know who was right. Anyway, I'm looking forward to when you find time to tackle it from the economic point of view.

BTW, what was different (from today) from your point of view in my example from history?

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: Grab
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 02:16 PM

On the "unelected front": most of the government system in any country is unelected. And that's as it should be - would you rather have professionals running government offices, or amateurs who have been elected bcos they looked pretty? Think about how well electing sheriffs worked in the southern US before you answer...

More to the point is lack of oversight from the ppl who _are_ elected to stop the empire-building. So long as the EU organisation can continue to get money without responsibility to see that it's spent correctly, I'd rather not bother. To be honest, I can't see the point of the UK being a member of the EU at all - if the money poured into that pit was channeled into healthcare and transport, we'd be in a damn sight better shape.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should UK join the Euro ?
From: JedMarum
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 02:56 PM

Canadian Driftwood - sorry I was joking about unifying Nrth American currency. In truth, if I was Canadian I would highly resent being forced to use a currency standard set by the US. The truth is, there are times the currency difference works in your favor, and it sounds like you can take advantage of that at the moment by earning in US dollars, and spending in Canada.


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