Eurosceptic 10-year-olds pity the poor Germans

14th June 1996 at 01:00
If 10-year-olds could vote, Sir James Goldsmith would be Britain's next prime minister. At least that is the conclusion to be drawn from a survey of 800 British schoolchildren which reveals a profound mistrust and ignorance of all things European.

Almost 80 per cent of 10- to 16-year-olds believe Europe should never become one nation. While two-thirds support a single currency, 60 per cent of them think it should be sterling.

Despite the fact that two-thirds have visited at least one European country, their attitudes are based on the most simplistic of national images. England is associated with the Queen, France with frogs legs, Italy with pizza, Bosnia with war. And so on.

Europe, it seems, is only good for beaches and sunshine. Certainly not, in the view of almost half the sample, for its food or people. Who said travel broadened the mind? Eight out of ten children associate Germany with the Second World War. Others thought of Germans as boring and - bizarrely - poor.

The survey was carried out by office machinery firm Gestetner as part of its Faxes for Kids scheme to encourage companies to replace fax machines with new models and donate the old ones to schools.

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