I’m occasionally astonished to reflect that I’ve now been an MEP for fifteen years. During that time, and especially in the early days, I used to get people saying to me “A single currency works very well in the USA. So why wouldn’t a single currency work in the EU?”. Naturally, now that the débâcle of the €uro project is writ large for all to see, I get asked that question rather less often.
But I was always pleased to get the question. Because if you understand why a single currency, the Dollar, works in the USA, you understand why the €uro can’t work in Europe. I’ve written about this many times, but in summary the answer is threefold: (1) High labour mobility; (2) Large-scale, on-going fiscal transfers; (3) A common sense of national identity which underpins consent for the fiscal transfers. All these conditions are satisfied in the USA: none is in the EU.
As the Scottish referendum started to loom on the horizon, I anticipated a similar question on Independence. “If UKIP is demanding UK independence from the EU, how come they don’t support Scottish independence?”. The short answer is simple: one size doesn’t fit all. Membership of the UK offers major economic advantages forScotland, including (but not limited to) a major and credible currency; a Central Bank acting as lender of last resort; and the Barnett Formula. But membership of the EU does great economic damage to the UK, for reasons I have set out at length elsewhere.
However I felt a more comprehensive answer was needed, which is why I wrote a blog back in March “Read-across from Scottish to UK independence? No!” . I have returned to the Scottish question a couple of times since.
Rather to my surprise, however, this question on Scottish and UK independence has not come up a great deal — perhaps because the answer is so self-evident. It was, however, raised on Twitter a couple of days back by someone calling himself Hashtager. He writes: LOL why is UK EU independence a “good” when Scottish independence “bad”…UKIP hypocrisy over dry run for EU ref! I have, of course, referred him to my blog post on the question (above).
This Hashtager is perhaps my most loyal follower. I have the strong impression that he has been tasked by some person or organisation with following me relentlessly and whingeing from the sidelines. (I wonder who might have given him that rôle? Answers on a postcard, please….). In fact in all probability he’s employed by the European Institutions. If he denies it, let him come forward and identify himself.
It’s clear at least that this Hashtager is a coward, since he chooses to veil himself in anonymity. Fair enough, Hashtager. You can hide your identity. But you cannot hide your ignorance and folly and prejudice. It’s very evident in every Tweet you post.