Sunday, 14 September 2008

Choking on My Museli

I was going to suggest that I choked on my kulen (a type of Croatian sausage) here in Zagreb this morning when I read that the Liberal Democrat leadership had ditched their commitment to joining the Euro at the earliest opportunity but felt that such an image might be a bit of a "Carry on Croatia" double ententre. I can just hear Sid James' dirty laugh and Kenneth Williams intoning "oh Matron" as I write this. So, instead, I choked on my organic museli instead which is far more Lib Dem.

I have to say though that I'm a bit surprised to hear the news and also a little bit disappointed since I have always felt that our strong Europeanism was a distinguishing feature of our Party although I think we had allowed ourselves to become caracatured wrongly by our political opponents as wild-eyed Eurofanatics when the reality has been that we have been arguing for reform of EU institutions and genuine subsidiarity for as long as I can remember. Still, I am left with an uneasy sense that something distinctive has been lost today.

Clearly there has not been the hoped for convergence with Euroland. Much of my business this year has been working with the Euro and the slide of the pound against the Euro has been nothing short of remarkable (and has raised my business turnover significantly more than I had originally forecast).

Pound Sterling to Euro Exchange Rate Graph - Sep 13, 2007 to Sep 12, 2008

On the other hand, joining the Euro might have been better for our longer term economic prospects. Sadly, once again we let the European ship leave the port before we decided to get aboard and I guess that although I will always in my heart wish to join the Euro, my head tells me that the moment to do so has passed.

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