Daily Archives: July 27, 2011

Gideon Rachman

George Osborne

George Osborne. Image by PA.

George Osborne has a history degree, so perhaps the UK chancellor felt the hand of history on his shoulder, when he made an apparently casual remark to the FT in an interview last week. What Osborne said was:

 

I think we have to accept that greater eurozone integration is necessary to make the single currency work and that is very much in our national interest. We should be prepared to let that happen.”

On one level, this is no more than common-sense. But it is also a reversal of centuries of British policy, which has always opposed the idea of a single, unified power arising on the other side of the Channel. A classic statement of this doctrine was made by Sir Edward Grey, the foreign secretary in 1914, when he explained to the House of Commons why Britain was entering the first world war. The goal, he said was “to prevent the whole of the west of Europe opposite from us falling under the domination of a single power.” Read more