Simon Sebag Montefiore

Spice girls back sceptics on Europe

Spice girls back sceptics on Europe
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190 years of The Spectator

14 December 1996

The Spice Girls were at the time the biggest girl group in the world, their debut album selling 23 million copies. The interview brought the magazine its highest sales figure for a generation

Interview the Spice Girls, I thought. But the Spice Girls are interviewed all the time. My interview, however, would be different. I would ask only questions that I would ask Mr Major, Mr Blair, Mr Heseltine or any other politician. Only one thing worried me about this plan. What if they weren’t interested in politics? It was a needless worry. They were completely political. Politics was really their subject.

‘We Spice Girls are true Thatcherites. Thatcher was the first Spice Girl, the pioneer of our ideology — Girl Power. But for now we’re desperately worried about the slide to a single currency,’ said Geri, the 24-year-old, husky-voiced, Titian-haired lead singer.

We were sitting in a smoke-filled room with the inner cabinet of the Girl Power Party. As in Major’s cabinet, the question on the agenda was Europe. Having once been a middle-of-the-road consensus party like John Major’s Tories, the Spice Girls are now careering down the dangerous road to extreme Euroscepticism.

At first, the Spice Girls adopted the John Major/Kenneth Clarke formula of refusing to rule out joining the single currency. But Victoria ‘Posh Spice’ forced through her anti-European free-market policies: ‘The European Federal plan is ridiculous. We are patriotic. The single currency is an outrage. We want the Queen’s head — or the King’s head if we have a king — on our own coins.’

The hint about the accession of the Prince of Wales is an important one, Victoria made it very clear that the Spice Girls are legitimatists who fully support the monarchy as it is, and are determined that Prince Charles will rightfully succeed.

This led us to the future of the monarchy. ‘As for the royals,’ said Geri, ‘they’re the best soap opera in the world. But also, if you look at our British Constitution as a big football match, they’re like the most objective referees.’

Bagehot himself never put it so neatly.

‘But the single currency is more important,’ intervened Victoria.

‘Britain was the first to break away from the Roman Empire,’ said Geri. ‘When push comes to shove, the pounds, dollars and deutschmarks can’t be equal. They can’t all be at the same standard of living.’

‘It’s been a terrible trick on the British people,’ said Victoria. The Bill Cash of the Spice Girls is outraged by ‘the impertinence of the bureaucrats in Brussels’.

The rest of the party nodded as she worked her way up to a brilliant climax: ‘The Euro-bureaucrats are destroying every bit of national identity. Let me give you an example — those new passports are revolting, an insult to our kingdom. We must keep our national individuality.’