Letter in the Independent, 5 July 2011
Mary Ann Sieghart is right to say that the economic policies followed by Britain over the past 10 years would have been even more disastrous if Britain had also been a member of the eurozone. (“Where have all the europhiles gone?”, 4 July). The housing boom would have been bigger, and the financial-services bubble would have caused even more harm when it burst.
But why should we have followed those economic policies anyway? They have hardly been a notable success outside the euro, what with the resulting collapse of the banking system and a record peacetime public deficit. The case for the euro was never that it would be simply business as usual with different banknotes.
Countries such as France, Germany and the Netherlands, which did join the euro, did not boom uncontrollably and have not crashed so severely. They are now growing out of recession faster than us, and are not told that they have an urgent need to slash public services in order to maintain access to the international bond markets.