Friday's Letters: What would have happened if Britain had adopted the euro?

What a fine piece of polemic from Robin Birley, describing how his stepfather rescued the nation from a fate worse than death (Yorkshire Post, January 11).

I support anything that encourages debate on the European question, and there is no doubt that James Goldsmith's intervention did this. The crux of the matter is the question of what would have happened had Britain adopted the euro, which seems to attract some wild speculation.

As with entry to the then EEC, the first and best opportunity was at the outset. It would have been important to obtain good terms regarding the exchange rate at the point of entry. I believe that the John Major team was skilful enough to do this.

Britain would then have obtained a seat at the ECB's policy-setting council, enabling us to exercise a positive influence over crucial matters. For instance, some ECB members were known to be doubtful about admitting Greece, whom we now know to have cooked the books.

If, at the time of changeover, UK interest rates were markedly lower than those in France and Germany, this may have called for unpopular fiscal measures, for the purpose of pre-empting an unsustainable credit boom. The fact that this was not done at the national level in Ireland, for instance, enables Mr Birley and others to blame the euro for the awful consequences.

It is interesting that here in Britain, while we did not get the euro, somehow we still got the housing boom and bust.

Economics textbooks define a currency's objective worth as its utility as a medium of exchange, a store of value, and a unit of account.

As of today, the euro is used by some 330m people, compared with the 62m who use the pound. Eurozone inflation is at 2.2 per cent, while in Britain it is at 3.3 per cent – or 4.7 per cent, depending on whether one believes the CPI or the RPI.

The unit of account factor is related to the store of value, insomuch as the higher the inflation rate, the greater is the damaging distortion to historical accounts.

Of course, the debt crisis continues and things may change. But if our escape from Mr Birley's euro disaster is somewhere in these official figures, it seems to be very well disguised. I suspect that he is seriously overegging his case.

From: Michael Swaby, Hainton Avenue, Grimsby.

From: D Wood, Thorntree Lane, Goole.

In writing about the EU (Yorkshire Post, January 7), James Bovington is almost totally wrong as usual. With the euro teetering on the brink of collapse, his open statement about a successful currency is almost laughable.

The interest rates on euro bonds are rocketing and very soon no-one with any sense or hope of getting their money back will touch them with a barge pole.

In fact, if the German public had been given a vote, the euro would never have existed, and it has been reported that the Germans are now actually printing Deutschmarks in case of a total collapse of the euro.

The euro was under-pinned by only two worthwhile currencies, the Deutschmark and the Dutch Guilder, but even these two were not strong enough to carry the basket cases, to which Estonia might now add.

Regarding the Schengen agreement and our non- existent border controls, we already have 9,000 foreign criminals – most courtesy of the EU – in our prisons, the above agreement would almost certainly increase that number, and is the last thing we need.

As for Estonia joining the euro, this is a country whose total economy is not even worth as much as BP, and could end up having to bail out much bigger economies like Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain, all of whom are a wonderful advert for not joining the euro.

PM should be ashamed on jobs front

From: Paul Crabtree, Stoneswood Road, Delph, Saddleworth.

YOUR headline, "Delivering the goods" (Yorkshire Post, January 11), in relation to the Downing Street jobs summit, proves once again that politicians really dobelieve the electorate to be stupid.

The Prime Minister should be ashamed of himself by trying to hoodwink the public into believing that jobs in the retail and the service industry are going to put this country back on an even keel. Ask anyone who works in the retail industry how demanding the work is; long hours, weekend working and minimum wages.

Where are the real jobs, those in engineering, construction, health care, education and transport?

Those employers and Conservative Party donors who attended the the growth summit at Downing Street were there for other reasons too. They claim employees have too much protection. What they really want the Government to do is toabolish workers' rights. So how safe is the minimum wage now?

The country's deficit has turned out to be rather nice excuse for the Tories. Deficit or no deficit, they would have slashed public sector jobs, reduced local government funding, abolished workers' rights, stagnated the funding to the National Health Service and to the railways as they always do.

George Osborne is for ever reminding us that we are all in this together. Well, Mr Osborne, please try telling that to the fat cat bankers who are responsible for the economic mess andwho are about to receive obscene bonuses!

Making a meal of dinner time

From: William Dixon Smith, Welland Rise, Acomb, York.

TRADITIONALLY, the evening meal was called supper (Yorkshire Post, January 12). It's what you sang for. Dinner was taken at midday. About the turn of the 18th century, it became fashionable for posh people to dine rather later in the afternoon.

It was a time of great social change, and the upwardly mobile not-so-posh eagerly followed suit. The posh naturally moved their dinner time forward a little more to avoid being mistaken for n-s-ps. This gastronomic chase continued and accelerated with bewildering speed.

When, in the early 19th century, William Etty and friends sent out invitations to dinner, they always specified the hour. This varied considerably, from about two o'clock onwards. Those who dined later obviously needed something "to set them on". Jane Austen's fictional friends took nuncheon. The unpretentious lower classes were not involved. They stuck to tradition. It had nothing to do with the north-south divide.

My (fairly) posh friends call their evening meal "supper" and reserve the term "dinner" for black-tie dos. Oh, dear! Back to square meal one, as you might say.

York and the right to vote

From: Kersten England, Chief Executive, City of York Council, Guildhall, York.

FURTHER to your article, (Yorkshire Post, January 8), concerning City of York Council's election, I would like to stress that the authority is committed to ensuring that York residents can exercise their democratic right to vote.

More than 90 per cent of households in York have registered their electoral details – a much higher percentage than in most areas. However, we are not complacent and will continue to target those areas with lower registration from now until the election.

The council is preparing a communications campaign to encourage people to register their details in February. This will utilise new media alongside more traditional communications channels, to remind residents of their right to vote and the importance of registering.

Britain and the world

From: Kendal Wilson, Wharfebank Terrace, Tadcaster.

I AM writing to comment upon the recent trade deals struck up with China through the Prime Minister's visit, this week's Downing Street talks and the offer of two pandas to Edinburgh Zoo.

Why are we dealing with these people who have a grade one human rights record? You may also think why would a person write a letter apparently to deter business and employment opportunities.

However, the bottom line is this. Am I the only person who has witnessed the destruction of our industries and then view people from a country that may at some future point have wider ideas of influence for our island nation?

We have enough talent to show the world. All I see is high-profile leaders waltzing up every avenue of England.

We should be in command of our own ship, hook, line and sinker.

Globalisation is a very clever word but the long term implications are unknown.

The need to address rural community concerns

From: Sophie Price, Development Manager – Rural, Yorkshire & the Humber Forum, Hanover Walk, Leeds.

Mark Casci's article (Yorkshire Post, January 10) on the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) potentially ignoring the interests of rural Yorkshire raised an important, yet familiar problem for the region's rural community.

Rural issues tend not to have a one-size-fits-all solution and require an investment of time to ensure they are tackled satisfactorily. The Yorkshire & the Humber Rural Network would welcome consultation with the LEP to formally address these concerns.

The Network brings together all voluntary and community organisations (VCOs) that have an interest in rural issues in Yorkshire and the Humber. As the Commission for Rural Communities is being dissolved, the Network is ideally placed to advise the LEPs on how to engage the rural economy and community.

We recognise the inherent links between a strong economy and a strong community. With more voluntary organisations per person than urban areas, rural Yorkshire's VCOs have specialist knowledge which can inform the LEPs and stimulate economic growth.

The rural voluntary and community sector is used to responding to the local needs of residents and providing creative, resourceful solutions to rural challenges often through the existing small grants scheme. This provides a valuable resource for small organisations servicing a specific need in their community.

It is important that this scheme or similar funding resources remain open to organisations that enrich the lives of many.

VCOs in rural Yorkshire require consultation and then support from the region's new power brokers as much as any urban area does to ensure that these needs are met in the changing political landscape.

Poaching is a crime

From: Jackie Dusi, Mastall Lane, Arksey, Doncaster.

I WOULD like to commend North Yorkshire Police for recognising that poaching is a serious crime (Yorkshire Post, January 11).

South Yorkshire Police take the attitude that the landowners and farmers are the criminals not the poachers.

I have contacted South Yorkshire Police on numerous occasions and their reaction is so slow – or non-existent – that the perpetrators of the crime are long gone.

It is interesting to see that North Yorkshire Police have a crime number to ring.

When I try to report a crime we have to ring Sheffield where you are invariably in a queue. People assume rural crime is getting your machinery stolen but rural crime extends beyond this.

Counting costs

From: Dennis Whitaker, The Grove, Baildon, Shipley.

NOW that we have been entreated to Philip Smith's views on the cost of the monarchy (Yorkshire Post, January 12), I look forward to the (more serious) sequel – presumably, why did Cameron, Clegg & Co agree a further 400m to the EU, without the need for audited accounts? Even banks don't do this!

Image conscious

From: RB Holroyd, Headlands, Liversedge.

SO, Adrian Chiles finds his image upon TV repellent (Yorkshire Post, January 4). Well, Adrian, welcome to the club.

Big difference

From: Ruthven Urquhart, High Hunsley, Cottingham.

WITH the greatest respect to the PM and the British public, should we not be termed as the Obese (and not big) Society?