I must admit that I haven't seen much evidence of a massive increase in prices since the introduction of the euro. Consumers associations in Spain are up in arms after the government said that inflation actually fell in Spain in January, in all provinces bar the Balearics where it rose by 0.5 percent. But I think we are paying the price for the hasty introduction of the euro. The peseta disappears on Thursday and Spain will go all euro.
You just have to go to a supermarket or any shop to see that the public are still struggling to come to terms with the new coins and notes. In my own personal experience I find that I am spending less because I am still not completely familiarised with the currency and basically I am being more cautious. And I don't think I am alone judging by the poor spending figures on the High Street. The inflation figures were probably right because there is still a certain fear of the euro coupled with the economic slowdown. The transition period should have lasted six months rather than two. Spending, I suspect will continue to fall until the public gets the euro feel. I believe that the problems for the single currency will start on Friday when the euro becomes the only currency in Spain.
The launch may have been a success but we've still got a long way to go until people are completely at ease. If and when Britain does join the single currency they should learn by the rest of Europe's mistakes. A much longer transition period is needed. With the euro we have been thrown in at the deep end and it's been a question of sink or swim.
Master of the English tongue
Might it be possible to close the recent debate about American English by quoting the words of one great Englishman. One who, in his lifetime was universally acknowledged to be a Master of the English Tongue. Someone, moreover, who had an American mother! Sir Winston Churchill said of the Americans They have fractured and debased the English language.