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Wednesday, 19 December, 2001, 18:14 GMT
The UK's euro battle: your views
BBC News Political Editor Andrew Marr examined Britain's complex - and often contradictory - attitude to the single currency.
Here is a selection of your views on the issue.
It is hugely ironic that the Conservatives are so anti-euro, their stated objection being that we, the British people, would lose control of our economic and political future.
Their spin-doctors tried to tell us we were forced out by currency "speculators" like George Soros, but the truth is that he, and others, realised that we were trying to sustain an exchange rate that we could not afford.
We need the euro, not for idealistic or theoretical reasons, but because our economy needs it for stability, and we, the people, need it to protect us from our own governments.
Martin Bell, UK
It's patronising but typical to assume that people's views depend on whether or not they've handled euro coins.
The issue is one of democratic accountability and a right to national self-determination. But, not for the first time in European history, ideological fanatics have decided they know what's best and are determined to force it on everyone else.
Yes, we'll get a referendum. But given how tightly New Labour controls the BBC it will be the most rigged event ever held in a democracy.
And because the pro-euro brigade claims the moral high ground - assuming credit for everything from post-war rapprochement to the glories of European culture - their bullying tone and utter contempt for anyone who disagrees goes unchallenged.
This is not a struggle for the promised land between saintly liberals and recidivist blimps.
Why does the BBC never interview the millions who've gained nothing and lost enormously from Britain's involvement with the EEC/EC/EU?
Don't just talk to the liberal elite who can't think beyond ease of access to their gites in Normandy or how wonderful it is to attend endless junkets.
Paul Sutton, Oxford
For years your country has been cursed, blamed and trodden on by Europe whilst France and Germany continue to fight amongst themselves for "control" of the EU.
Britain would be wise to quit Europe now and join America and Canada in a new North Atlantic Economic Zone, where all members are trusted and respected.
Ryan Baas USA
It is also important to note that in the near future inward investment in the UK could be greatly affected by the fact that it would be cheaper to manufacture in Europe while Sterling remains at a ridiculous exchange rate, no amount of so called flexible labour market policy will offset this.
In conclusion it is fair to say that the pressure on the UK could be become irresistible once the real money begins to circulate, no amount of posturing by radical right-wingers will change this.
Get ready UK your time will come.
Declan Ryan, Ireland
By opting out of the euro - and therefore not being allowed any say in the development of it - the politicians have left Britain to be force-fed a currency that has been designed completely by other countries. A true sacrifice of British sovereignty.
Why can all the leaders of the other countries see the value and the inevitability of the euro and ours cannot?
Also the ECB has not been pro-active in the way the Bank of England and the Fed were in cutting rates.
As a result German unemployment is heading back to 4 million. How long will the Germans put up with this?
One German economist gives the single currency about 12 years, which he says is the average length of monetary unions historically.
In any event Wim Duisenberg has made it clear that the pound would have to enter at an exchange rate that has prevailed for the foregoing two years.
Almost all economists think this overvalued the pound. So we go in at an uncompetitive rate or we stay out.
No choice - we stay out.
John Marsh, Rickmansworth, Herts
I have still to see a coherent argument from those who wish us to re-create the Roman/Napoleonic/Hitlerian empires as to why they want these things.
Richard Johnston, London
Phillip Steele, Newcastle
I do wonder however, what the reaction of these same people would react when interest rates change to accommodate a recession or slow down in the German economy when the British economy is on the charge, or to hikes in interest rates when they are the last thing Britain needs.
The economy in the UK struggles to balance the needs of manufacturing versus services or North versus South when setting monetary policy and this job would be made a great deal more difficult if the whole of the eurozone had to be considered as well.
I will not fall for the government's pro euro propaganda, they say we can't be isolated, well how is isolated being the fourth largest economy and fourth greatest military power and Earth, and having a unique bond with the people we are most like and have most in common with, the Americans.
Well I for one will never vote for the Euro, it would end in disaster. Why try to fix things if they are not broken?
If businesses will accept the Euro in order not to lose business, then regardless of political will or even the outcome of a referendum, the Euro will become a part of daily life.
G Jackson (UK), in New York
I feel that your government is shirking its responsibilities.
Having won two unheard-of, never-before-seen, landslide victories at the polls, one might think it has all the mandate it needs.
If the current Labour government under Tony Blair is really convinced that joining the Euro is the right thing to do, then they should do it. After all, let's be honest, it is not as if they can be proved wrong.
The impact of membership is so all-pervasive that returning to the status quo ante is impossible.
Also, once in, the pound disappears.
It is not so that it remains possible to compare the state of the economy after five years of membership with what it would be like had you not joined, is it?
But, as the article rightly hints at, membership will surely happen and it's up to you to control your destiny.
Besides, I'm sure there are more pressing matters to occupy the skills of your politicians than this debate.
What is the big deal with the euro - lets get in with it, do it, have it!
Sterling is a thing of the past, a piece of metal that simply has a 'perception' of value.
Methinks the isolationists are the backwards, fearful ones, unable to deal with the fact the world is constant change and that they are in it.
The euro will represent much in terms of business efficiency, saving consumers lots of money on currency transactions (and fluctuations).
Business will benefit - because the levelling of the European playing field means much clearer competition, and availability of goods, services and ideas.
I want my euros now please, Mr government, coz I'm fed up with the whining europhobes.
The whole thing is rubbish anyway the benefits to the financial institutions is a fallacy.
Transactions are done electronically and require a few lines of code to make any adjustments.
The real reason for the euro is the federalisation of Europe.
It is a major element of the plan in which the UK will find itself absorbed in to a huge all powerful off island body who will pass down its 100mm carrot dictates and half baked soft cheese BSE euro drivel.
Tony Blair will sell this nation down the road for an oak veneer covered MDF modern designer chair and throw out the solid oak throne that King John sat on in 1215.
But it isn't.
There is a hidden agenda. The 'closer ties' with Europe will include central taxation, common interest rates, a European super state, eventually a central government.
These are the issues that the British people are against. If this squeaky clean 'New Labour' government could be honest with the public (yeah, like that is going to happen), inform the electorate of their European policy and have the referendum now then this matter would be settled before any more tax payers money is wasted on 'preparation' for the Euro.
We will most certainly begin to lose our national identity.
If that should ever happen we will have to carry Canadian dollars to have a currency with our Monarchs head on!
Nick T, Turkey
Compared to many of our European neighbours our economy has proven resilient and strong.
Today the dollar and sterling stand alone and unchallenged as the worlds strongest independent currencies.
We have a more important role to play in Europe and that is the role of a free marketeer.
Using our successful recent past to lead Europe into a less taxed and more competitive position.
The UK should use its unique position to seriously consider joining NAFTA and play a leading role in bringing the benefits of such an association to Europe.
The unfortunate reality is that we are being led by a prime minister who has no interest in Britain's independent economic success.
He uses us for his own personal ambition to become "President of Europe".
We should stop him in his tracks, the economic future well being of our country is in the balance.
It really is a "no brainer" to sign up to a single currency to get rid of exchange rate controls and fluctuations that is the "grit" in the cog of economic unity.
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