August 27, 2005

EVEN THE WETS CAN FIGURE IT OUT (via Robert Schwartz):

A hard truth: the future of the single currency is now far beyond our Ken (Anatole Kaletsky, 8/25/05, Times of London)

THERE WAS a time when Kenneth Clarke’s admission that “the euro has been a failure” might have dominated the headlines for weeks. It might even have changed the course of Britain’s history. Had Mr Clarke been prescient enough 15 years ago to recognise the fatal flaws in the single currency project, the Tories might have been spared the humiliation of Black Wednesday and the suicidal infighting over the Maastricht treaty; they might still be governing the country.

If the ex-Chancellor had humbly admitted five years ago that he had been wrong about the euro, he would surely now be the Leader of the Opposition and the Conservatives might be vying for power with Labour in a hung parliament. By this week, however, Mr Clarke’s public confession about the failure of the euro was as irrelevant to the future as Macbeth’s final soliloquy comparing himself to “a walking shadow, a poor player who that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more”.

But while Mr Clarke’s regrets about the euro may no longer be of any interest in Britain, they remind us of something extremely significant about the wider world beyond. The euro has been enjoying a political honeymoon in the four years since it was introduced. While the Europe’s economic performance has gone from bad to worse almost since the day when the euro was launched in January 1999, no respectable politician has ever dared to blame the euro or criticise the single currency project in any way. This taboo has now been lifted.

You probably have to look back to a monarch to find the last fallen leader who was vindicated as completely as Margaret Thatcher has been.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 27, 2005 9:44 AM

Kaletsky is both a fine analyst and a fine writer.

As for the euro, even if it was a good idea at one time, a big if, those who empowered themselves to implement it and manage the creation of the EU are so corrupt and arrogant they would be the envy of French courtiers.

Posted by: erp [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 27, 2005 11:54 AM

They are or are the descendents of said froggie courtiers.

Posted by: Sandy P at August 27, 2005 2:58 PM