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Why the Euro is unpopular with the British?

Updated on February 7, 2013

The one issue that can rouse the British electorate to a frenzy is the question of Europe and it's impact on the everyday lives of the British people. As a day to day concern the impact on the United Kingdom is barely noticeable and it takes the media to raise the ongoing drama of Europe, for the population to notice the silent and stealthy mechanics of European integration.

The Euro as the European Union's single European currency is a symbol to many in Britain of the threat of our sovereignty eroding even further. Great Britain is a collection of Island nations that has over it's existence has acknowledged Europe but is aware that it is justified in maintaining a civilized distance.

The home of the British Pound.
The home of the British Pound. | Source

Hostility to the Euro

The people of Great Britain feel that the Euro signals yet more interference by the European Union in British life. A common held belief in the United Kingdom is that the European Union is undemocratic and a law unto itself. Europe and its mechanism's are seen as corrupt and bloated compared to the British parliamentary democracy. The British people view the Euro with the same level of suspicion as the European Union, the institution that created the new currency.

The British public believe that Europe has encroached too far into their everyday life, and the Euro is a step to far in many people's opinion. A common argument used by the Eurosceptic side of the political divide is that the European Union was not agreed to by the British electorate, and they were deceived by the politicians into deeper integration without a mandate approved by the British electorate. In 1973 the Labour led Government took Britain into the EEC ( The European Economic Union) and after initial controversy The British people were allowed a vote on the new agreement.

In the 1975 referendum on the whether to remain in the European Common Market, the Pro-European Government were able to sell to the electorate the EEC, informing the public it would be beneficial for British trade, jobs and diplomatic harmony. It had been less than Thirty years since the end of the Second World War and the ghosts of the continental conflict still lingered.

A Euro Coin
A Euro Coin | Source

Britain's love of the pound

The overall majority of the British public are in favour of keeping their currency as the Pound for the foreseeable future, It is a currency that is linked to the history of the British people. The Pound has survived World Wars and global financial depressions, yet it has remained a solid and dependable currency in trying times. The Pound is held in great affection by the British people and the Euro is seen as a shadowy currency of a foreign institution, which cares little for the people or heritage of Great Britain.

At the end of the Second World War when the European and British economy lay in ruins, America offered Great Britain the chance to use the Dollar as it's currency. The British Prime Minister Winston Churchill politely declined the kind offer by the USA, saying he knew the British people would not give up it's currency for anything else. If the Dollar was politely declined, then the Euro would fair no better.

Euro equals end of Britishness

If the United Kingdom signed up to the Euro, then it would not be the end of Britishness as a cultural identity is not defined by it's currency. What it would mean is that control of British finances would leave the hands of the people we elect to govern us. The British economy is different to the German, French, Spanish and Greek. To impose a set criteria on the British, would mean the National Governments would be unable to adapt to changing World events as quick as they have in recent years.

If another financial crisis happens while Britain is in the Euro then the damage could be made worse by the European Central Bank not helping British interests quick enough or failing to act all together. The British people on the whole are less aware of this and prefer to concentrate on potential " European diktat " telling them how to run their lives.

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The Pound Forever?

The Euro represents European coldness and bureaucratic pettiness, even the name of the currency lacks warmth. Former Prime Minister suggested the currency be named the " Florin " in reference to the Italian City, a name that conjures up beauty and elegance. Instead the name "Euro" was chosen which conjures up conformity and banal institutional branding. The British people applaud innovation over doctrine and like honesty over a white wash.

The Euro will fail to capture the imagination of the British public as it will have to be forced on the British public. Many ordinary British people would prefer to trade with Europe, but also trade once more with the countries that we abandoned on joining the EEC. There is common language, history and culture with trading partners such as India, Australia, South Africa, Canada, New Zealand and other members of the Commonwealth. Many British people feel joining the Euro, would mean that we would lose our flexibility and competitive edge.


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