Backbench Business — [28th Allotted Day] — Eurozone Financial Assistance
Autism (Quality Standards)
Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North, Labour)
It is a great pleasure to speak in this important debate and to support the motion of Mark Reckless. I hope very much to have the opportunity to vote for the motion as it stands rather than in amended form.
Today of all days is important because the crisis and contagion in the eurozone is spreading. As reported in the Financial Times and other journals, there are serious problems in Spain, where there is youth unemployment of 41%, and where the economy is in serious crisis, and even in Italy. Those are major economies, not small countries. If we are dragged into a mechanism to save the eurozone even in one of the smaller countries, we will be throwing good money after bad, as the hon. Gentleman said. Bail-outs have been required for Greece and Ireland, and there might be one for Portugal, but those are relatively small countries in EU terms. Spain and Italy are much larger, and bail-outs for them would be prohibitive.
As I have said in the Chamber several times before, it is time to urge the EU to accept the recreation of national currencies for countries that cannot sustain membership of the eurozone. As I and many others have argued, strong currencies derive from strong economies, not the other way around. The Deutschmark was a strong currency because the German economy was strong. Weak economies cannot cope over time when a strong currency is thrust upon them. The best example of that was Argentina, which chose mistakenly to link its currency formally to the US dollar. For 10 years, it struggled, and its economy was almost destroyed before it bailed out and recreated its own currency—not before billions of its dollars had gone abroad. The Argentine economy, which had been one of the strongest on South America, became very weak, simply because it adopted a strong currency, and someone else’s currency at that. Adopting a strong currency that an economy cannot sustain is a foolish decision.
The right to flex a currency as of need is a vital component of economic management. Indeed, at Bretton Woods in the 1940s, it was argued that depreciations and appreciations could be appropriate for different countries, even though a stable exchange rate system was agreed after the second world war.