Joining the euro is the real agenda

AS MPs pack their buckets and spades for their five week winter breaks in Mauritius, the Seychelles, the Maldives, Dubai or wherever when the rest of us - except teachers, of course - will be lucky to get three days off work, it seems the Government is content to let the value of the pound to sink to a new exchange rate low.

Graham Dines

AS MPs pack their buckets and spades for their five week winter breaks in Mauritius, the Seychelles, the Maldives, Dubai or wherever when the rest of us - except teachers, of course - will be lucky to get three days off work, it seems the Government is content to let the value of the pound to sink to a new exchange rate low.

There is, of course, a deeply suspicious coincidence - during the parliamentary holidays, MPs will not be able to hold the executive to account over the falling value of the pound.

Some arch modernisers such as Lord (Peter) Mandelson are silently jubilant that the value of our currency is on the floor. They believe this makes the case for the UK to join the euro zone.


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The argument goes that if the pound drops to parity with the euro, then there is absolutely no reason for Brits not to convert the pound in their pockets for euros. Should the pound slide under the euro, proponents of us joining the euro zone believe the public will clamour to sacrifice our coinage and notes for those now used across most of continental Europe.

It is a compelling case, and one which diehard supporters of sterling will find increasingly difficult to argue against.

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Next year's foreign holidays for British families will jump in price. It's just as well for the tour operators that the price has reduced, removing the necessity for aviation fuel surcharges. This time last year, the pound was worth around one euro 40 cents ­- today it is teetering below one euro one cent.

This is a massive devaluation. Holidaying Brits, especially those self catering on the Costas and in Tuscany villas, will bear the brunt of the economic slump which is being exacerbated in the UK because our low interest rates are driving away international investors.

The cry will go up: don't mind the weather, holiday at home. But what's the betting that hoteliers, guest house landladies, and cottage rental agencies will jack up their prices to cash in on the weak pound? It's an ill wind.

RECOVERING for over a fortnight from surgery on my right shoulder, I missed watching from the Commons gallery Superman Brown's claim to be saving the world.

It made good television. Poor Gordon! His slip of the tongue gaff will live with him for ever, ranking alongside Vince Cable's put down that our beloved Prime Minister was none other than Mr Bean in disguise.

I'm convinced Gordon actually believes what he said originally, rather than his quick recantation. To recap: “We not only saved the world- [Laughter.]-saved the banks and led the way- [Interruption] We not only saved the banks - not only did we work with other countries to save the world's banking system, but not one depositor actually lost any money in Britain.”

When the House of Commons is on top form, it's a cruel place. Expect MPs at the Prime Minister's next appearance to hum: “If I ruled the world, every day would be the first day of spring.”.”

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