Europe’s guilty men
Sir: What exactly do Peter Oborne and Frances Weaver (‘The great euro swindle’, 24 September) think the pro-euro camp must be called to account for? Apparently for being on the losing side in a debate which they never showed much sign of winning anyway, not least because the Chancellor of the Exchequer set conditions for entry which he knew would not be met. The Financial Times and the BBC may well have lacked even-handedness in their presentation, but their influence was balanced by the solid euroscepticism of many newspapers.
In truth, many Eurosceptics were their cause’s worst enemies. Nicholas Ridley’s comparison of Helmut Kohl to Adolf Hitler was unusual only in that it was made by a serving minister. There was never any difficulty in finding Eurosceptic journalists and Conservative backbenchers willing to denounce not merely the euro but the entire European project in terms which sometimes teetered on the edge of irrationality. This did the anti-euro cause a serious disservice in that it allowed the BBC to underplay the real arguments against a common currency. Perhaps these intemperate Eurosceptics should be called to account.
Sir: Peter Oborne is mistaken in his comment that ‘about 25 years ago something went very wrong with the FT’. The FT has been a propagandist for ‘Europe’ for over 50 years. In 1958 Robert Schuman took its then editor, Sir Gordon Newton, on one of the European Commission’s regular promotional guided tours. Like many others, Newton was ‘converted’ by this so-called ‘Father of Europe’. Of the carefully chosen individuals taken on tailored goodwill trips to Brussels and Strasbourg, about a third were British. Clearly that paid off handsomely when Britain joined the EEC.
Sir: The people and institutions who wanted us to join the euro are the same as those who believe in man-made global warming.