Speaking on the Radio 4 Today programme, Chancellor Schröder allowed himself the luxury of shaking his head more in sorrow than in anger. Europe and America must never be divided again as they were over Iraq. Well, actually, they were not divided. Europe was divided and most countries supported America and Britain. They may have been right or they may have been wrong, but those are the facts.
If the Chancellor feels superior because of Blair’s electoral difficulties then he should spare the odd thought for his own, something about which the BBC was clearly not going to ask him. For some reason it is taken as read that the Social-Democrats in Germany are losing because of domestic matters, whereas Labour in Britain is doing badly because of the Iraq war. Seems illogical to me.
Then the Chancellor told us that he was not going to gloat about British and American difficulties in Iraq. Well, now, that is very interesting. Power has been handed over to the Iraqi government and the difficulties appear to be minimal. On the other hand, Germany and France are undermining NATO’s attempts to train the security forces in Iraq that might make that government more stable.
Finally, Herr Schröder, still very sorrowfully, explained that Britain will have to come to some sort of compromise on the EU Budget (that is the whole row over the rebate) and it would be much better for Britain to join the euro “to belong to Europe” whatever that may mean. The consequences of not joining, he thought, would be detrimental to the City of London and to the British economy.
How many more times are we going to be told that not belonging to the euro is going to be detrimental to our economy, when it is Euroland, in particular Germany, that is struggling to turn its economy round and failing? The City of London has not suffered at all by being outside the euro, though it will no doubt suffer from the endless torrent of financial and other directives that are pouring out of Brussels and whose aim is to take power away from the private sector and give it to the politicos, civil servants and regulators.
And how long is it before the BBC starts questioning these bland and ridiculous statements?