Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The great euro swindle

Very rarely in political history has any faction or movement enjoyed such a complete and crushing victory as the Conservative Eurosceptics.

The field is theirs. They were not merely right about the single currency, the greatest economic issue of our age – they were right for the right reasons. They foresaw with lucid, prophetic accuracy exactly how and why the euro would bring with it financial devastation and social collapse.

Meanwhile, the pro-Europeans find themselves in the same situation as appeasers in 1940, or communists after the fall of the Berlin Wall. They are utterly busted. Let's examine the case of the Financial Times, which claims to be Britain's premier economic publication. About 25 years ago something went wrong with the FT. It ceased to be the dry, rigorous journal of economic record so respected under its great postwar editor Sir Gordon Newton.

Turning its back on its readers, it was captured by a clique of left-wing journalists. An early sign that something was going wrong came when the FT came out against the Falklands invasion. Naturally it supported Britain's entry to the Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1990. In 1992, it endorsed Neil Kinnock as prime minister. It has been wrong on every single major economic judgment over the past quarter century.

The central historical error of the modern Financial Times concerns the euro. The FT flung itself headlong into the pro-euro camp, embracing the cause with an almost religious passion. Doubts were dismissed. Here is the paper's Lex column on January 8, 2001, on the subject of Greek entry to the eurozone: "With Greece now trading in euros," reflected Lex, "few will mourn the death of the drachma. Membership of the eurozone offers the prospect of long-term economic stability." The FT offered a similarly warm welcome to Ireland.

The paper waged a vendetta against those who warned that the euro would not work. Its chief political columnist, Philip Stephens, consistently mocked the Eurosceptics. "Immaturity is the kind explanation," sneered Stephens as Tory leader William Hague came out against the single currency. more