The moment that the European Economic Community decided to form the European Monetary System in 1979, Liberals were advocating it was in our national interest to join. but Labour Chancellor Denis Healey kept Britain out. As this evolved into the Exchange Rate Mechanism with tighter variability we continued to advocate joining. Finally in 1990, John Major as Conservative Chancellor took us in but a disasterously high rate against the Deutsche Mark  of 2.95 at the worst point in our economic cycle in comparison to other European Economies. Locked into a 6% variance  & with interest rates already eye wateringly high, speculators like George Soros who gambled against the pound knew that 15% interest rates were politically unsustainable.

In September 1992, Sterling crashed out of the ERM on Black Wednesday. Ironically the French Franc which came under speculative attack in 1993 was allowed a variance of 15%. In 1999 the Euro was launched and the Government of Tony Blair considered joining. Gordon Brown drew up his 5 points test with Ed Balls in the back of a Taxi in New York City, and these were used to keep Britain out of the Euro from that day.  The revival of the economy post 1992 and the considerable difficulties of the Eurozone after the 2008 Financial Crisis have been used by Conservative and UKIP politicians to say Liberal Democrats like the late visionary Charles Kennedy were wrong to advocate Euro membership backed by public referendum. 

But clearly the failure of the Blair Government of 1997-2001, 2001-2005  to grasp the nettle and join led to the stalling of British participation at the heart of the European Economy which started the drift to Brexit.  As the EU now out performs the UK economy for economic growth, and an era of lower unemployment arrives, is it time for us to finally admit that if the UK had joined the EMS in 1979 or the ERM in 1990 or the Euro in 1999 at the correct time , at the correct  exchange rate with the political will to back this up, Brexit would never have happened and the UK and Eurozone economies would have been strengthened.