Nick Clegg: “Long live the pound”

OK, I admit it, I have misquoted Nick’s speech to the LibDem City Forum last month – but not by much. This was the most Euro sceptic speech by a LibDem leader in living memory.

Let me quote him precisely: “the UK is enjoying the benefit of currency flexibility and the devaluation of the pound against the Euro is giving a stimulus to manufacturing.” Doesn’t sound like someone who wants to join the single currency, does it? He acknowledges that things may change, but he doesn’t exactly go out of his way to make it sound likely: “conditions may well change to make membership of the Euro the right option for Britain and in these circumstances the LibDems would make that case, subject to a referendum”.

I think that this is essentially the Labour Party’s position: the Euro is not the right option now, but if it becomes so, then we will support it. I guess that, for better or worse, we will not enter the next election promising a referendum on the Euro. Indeed, this speech raises the possibility that we will pledge to keep the pound for the next parliament.

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This entry was posted in Europe / International and Op-eds.


  • I have always believed we will join the Euro – but not when our currency/economy is in a strong postion – but when things go pear shaped & join in a weak postion if they will have us!!

  • If our European trade increases it may be better for Europe if we keep the pound. we would be far more dynamic in the world market and have a greater degree of adaptability.

  • coldcomfort 8th Jun '08 - 2:27pm

    I suppose it’s a good idea to take the Euro off the agenda. Imagine what our glorious media would do if Nick had come out & clearly said that it was our ambition to go in. It saddens me though that we seem increasingly prepared to compromise principle for pragmatism. That’s what the other Parties do & I don’t want power on that basis. If I did I’d join the Tories or the psuedo Tories of New Labour.

  • Gah, what’s the excitement here? Please, move along quickly.

    Success in politics is had by creating an effective balance of pragmatism and principle, so how this applies to the Euro is ‘not now, thanks’.

    Anyway I think the political arguments have become divorced from the economic arguments for all sides to be reconciled satisfactorily: remember the ‘pound’ was the original single European currency before fiat money began being introduced across the continent and it retains it’s hold on our imagination because it links the value of our money to tangible real-world values in the same way that all ‘imperial’ measurements do.

  • “To do this means keeping currency being separate from the euro.”

    Or it means devolving economic powers through appropriate structures of governmental authority to separate fiscal and monetary policy.

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