Monday, June 20, 2011

Greek Tragedy

"There comes a moment in any decent tragedy when the penny finally drops. The light breaks. The protagonist suddenly realises what a chump he has been - that he has somehow managed accidentally to marry his mother and kill his father - and that all his assumptions about his life are upside down. And the really awful thing about the tragedy now playing on the streets of Athens is that we haven’t even reached that bit yet.

We are all still kidding ourselves that the moment of reversal can be avoided. All the other governments of Europe, including, alas, the Coalition, are pretending that Greece can remain in the euro. If only the EU finance ministers can just have a bit more lunch in Brussels; if only Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel can hammer out another plan to reschedule the Greek debt; if only UK taxpayers can stump up a bit more for the bail-out fund - then somehow the Heath Robinson contraption is supposed to limp another few miles further on down the road with the Greeks bubblegummed to the roof.

All we need is for Athens to sack a few thousand more public sector workers, lop a few billions more off their pensions, chop more benefits, collect more taxes, and perhaps the problem will go away. If the Greeks would only change their national character, and suddenly discover a Scandinavian faith in government combined with German habits of industry and thrift - then, or so we are told, the catastrophe could be averted.

It is time for a resolution. We should stop chucking good money after bad."

The greatest gift to the Greeks might be to let them go it alone - Boris Johnson

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