Saturday, January 3, 2009

Hague vs. Euro

Freemania has a great analysis of immovable coherence of a certain William Hague. Tom contrasts Hague's current rhetoric to that of only a few years ago when he was party leader. Now Hague says...

We would never join the euro. The jobs and businesses of this country are too important ever to sign away our right to do our utmost to defend them.

Back then, however, in an interview with Jeremy Paxman, little Willy said this...

WH: I have been very clear from the beginning of the current Parliament that our approach is for the next Parliament because no Parliament can bind its successor. I am against euro, for keeping the pound. Our policies are for this Parliament.

Now my interest in this story is not that of Mr Hague's equivocation, but rather his insistence that no Parliament can bind its successor. Now, ordinarily, in the case of legislation, that may be fine (our EU entanglement excepted!), but joining the Euro is a pretty binding move, is it not? If a Government were to take us into the Euro, a future Government would be bound pretty tightly, the cost and pain of leaving being incredibly large, and the timeframe being pretty protracted.

Now call me old fashioned, but the principle that no Parliament may bind its successor seems pretty sound. I have not heard a single decent argument to the contrary. And if that is indeed to be the case, then any currency ought to be the same or smaller than the jurisdiction of a Parliament, since a currency which crosses nations cannot fall within the power of any single Parliament, by definition (unless the EU were to assume sovereignty and the Commission were to assume full control of economic policy at a federal level). Also while it may be technically possible to leave the Euro, the loss of control over monetary policy means that any government is not in possession of all the levers of power, and thus its ability to act is indeed bound to some extent.

Therefore the only scenario which meets William's statement is a national or sub-national currency. Any supranational currency is necessarily binding to a present parliament.

My point? Well, I just find it odd that one can find any logic in the notion that the Euro is not binding on Parliament.


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