Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Euro File

Tom Gordon
SCOTLAND’S newest MSP was once a passionate advocate of the UK abandoning the pound in favour of the euro, it has emerged. 

Cara Hilton, who will be sworn in as the Labour MSP for Dunfermline at Holyrood today, called for the country to join the EU single currency in a previous career as a union official.

Unless it joined the euro, the UK risked losing jobs and investment, she claimed.

Unemployment across the Eurozone currently averages 12%, and in Spain and Greece is 25%.
Labour frequently uses the SNP’s previous support of the euro to attack the Nationalists in the independence referendum.
Hilton’s outspoken remarks may make such criticism from Labour less likely in future.
Hilton, 38, who was elected in the Dunfermline byelection last week with a majority of 2873, backed the euro while working for the shop workers’ union Usdaw.
Writing under her maiden name Cara Peattie in 2002, the year the euro first entered circulation, she wrote: “Locked out of the euro and isolated from our closest trading partners, Britain risks lost jobs, higher prices, less trade and less investment.
“We cannot risk this investment for the sake of economic nationalism. 
“Only as part of the euro can we revitalise our desperate public services.”
Johann Lamont, Hilton, Ed Balls, Cathy Jamieson
James Reekie, the Conservative candidate in Dunfermline, said: “We know that the SNP has always been pro Euro membership, now it seems the Labour candidate was just as enthusiastic.” Distancing herself from her previous stand, Ms Hilton said that, like others in 2002, she had seen the euro “as a way of bringing long-term stability to Britain’s economy”.
But she added: “However, it has become clear that monetary union without close political and fiscal union leads to an inherently unstable and volatile economic system.
“That’s why I recognise that such a monetary union is inadequate, yet the troubled euro structure is what the SNP wishes to replicate here if they win the referendum.
“I know it doesn’t work and lessons need to be learned. Unfortunately, the SNP don’t seem to have that same level of understanding.”
Support for the euro was once an SNP staple.
In November 1999, while leader of the SNP opposition at Holyrood, Alex Salmond said the pound was “a millstone round Scotland’s neck” and “an example of why Scotland needs [EU] membership status so that it can take a decision on entry into the single currency.”
The SNP now advocate a currency union with sterling in the event of independence.