A letter to the Editor of the Daily Telegraph which was published on 9th May 1997.
The announcement that a dedicated proponent of abolishing the pound sterling, Sir David Simon, is to be succeeded in his job as chairman of British Petroleum by Peter Sutherland – an Irishman, previously an EU commissioner (City Comment, May 8), brings into question the extent to which certain corporate businessmen are using their business positions to advance personal political objectives.
In the absence of any convincing economic or business arguments in favour of abolishing the pound, but with many against, nobody can seriously deny that the issue is overwhelmingly a political one – namely our continued existence as a self-governing country.
That being so the Confederation of British Industry – headed by another Irish citizen Niall Fitzgerald also chairman of Unilever, a predominantly British company – might wish to consider whether it and its member companies wish to be identified with a political viewpoint which, as shown in poll after poll, is overwhelmingly opposed by the British people.
That the Republic of Ireland is a supporter of this viewpoint is understandable, given the continued prominence in our affairs of certain of its citizens and the fact that Ireland receives around £2,000 per annum per family from the EU, about £400 of which comes from British families. However these are not reasons, one would have thought, which grass roots members of the CBI support.