I just came across this post in A Fistful of Euros from three months ago. It reproduces a 1990 civilized parliamentary debate in the House of Commons. Makes it easy to understand why Cameron “opted out”:
House of Commons, 30 October 1990 –
Mr. Terence Higgins (Worthing) Will my right hon. Friend [the PM, Mrs Thatcher] take time between now and the conference in December to explain to her European colleagues what any first-year economic student could tell them, which is that the imposition of a single currency, as opposed to a common currency, would rule out for all time the most effective means of adjusting for national differences in costs and prices? Will she explain that that in turn would cause widespread unemployment, which would probably exist on a perpetual basis, and very serious financial imbalances?
The Prime Minister Yes, I agree entirely with my right hon. Friend. It would do just that. It would also mean that there would have to be enormous transfers of money from one country to another. It would cost us a great deal of money. One reason why some of the poorer countries want it is that they would get those big transfers of money. We are trying to contest that. If we have a single currency or a locked currency, the differences come out substantially in unemployment or vast movements of people from one country to another. Many people who talk about a single currency have never considered its full implications.
Mr. Churchill (Davyhulme): Will my right hon. Friend tell the House how far she believes that, when the moment comes, Germany will be prepared to see the transfer of its monetary policy from the Bundesbank to a European central bank on which it will have one voice out of 12?
The Prime Minister: I think that it is wrong to think that all the Twelve have similar votes or influence in these matters. I think that some in Germany—only some—are backing the scheme because they know that the dominant voice, the predominant voice, on any central bank would be the German voice. If we did not retain our national identities in Europe, the dominant people in Europe would be German. The way to balance out the different views of Europe, as we have traditionally done throughout history, is by retaining our national identity.
“21 years ago, this was being debated in the House of Commons. It all seems to be news to the Eurocrats now. Perhaps it got lost in the fact that Saddam Hussein was occupying Kuwait at the time. That was back in the day when governments could handle two crises at once. If we do end up with a northern Europe breakaway currency circulating with the Euro, should we call it the “Maggie?””
That´s the British tradition for you!
HT Patricia Stefani