Well, that's pretty much it for Greece. It seems to me that if ever an incoming government wouldn't want its hands tied by the last one, the Greek general election in April will prove it. The wretched Greeks may be workshy, taxdodging and feckless and have suffered thoroughly dishonest government since the Euro was conceived, but they get nothing out of this deal. Revolution can only be averted by a change of government to one which is not prepared to be Frankfurt's bitch, forcing a generation of Greeks to emigrate.
But golly there are still plenty of Euro supporters in Britain. It has to do with aversion to change, I think. If Greece goes, so Europe goes, they argue. If Europe goes, so Britain goes. Well, that’s when one has to pin the Europhile to the wall with the simplicity of the argument.
And it’s pretty easy, frankly. Put simply, the Euro was created out of the barely-smouldering embers of the last war, insofar as the Germans and the French felt in the 80s and 90s there was still another step they could take towards ensuring that IT could never happen again, which was to tie themselves together and create the world’s first instance of economically independent countries believing that they could run faster as a three-legged team, rather than - as nature intended - as co-ordinated individuals. Worse, this became, with the full 17 members, akin to the pyramid of riders in a motorcycle display team reckoning that they could negotiate the bends and bumps in the road just as easily as an individual rider.
The Germans, being good mechanics, realised this wasn’t an ideal plan, but so keen were they to prove their Europäischer credentials, they were prepared to risk the hardest-of-won of reputations - that of sound money. They created a treaty (Maastricht) which decided upon the hurdles to be jumped and the hoops to be gone through in order to prove that this widely differing group of economies had ‘converged’. Quite right, you might say. But there was one problem – the hurdles were never erected, nor the hoops produced. It was deemed sufficient that ‘prospective’ convergence would do. So, hurry along, no time to be lost, you’ve all passed, let’s get the prize giving ceremony started. The treaty, in short, was a fudge.
This proves a point which cannot be stressed enough – international treaties, particularly those involving the pooling or the relinquishing of sovereignty, MUST be created by truly gifted statesmen and draughtsmen, or not at all. We are talking Rolls Royce engineering here, the absolute and very best. And if no such statesmen or draughtsmen exist, call the whole thing off. Pity was, there WERE no Jeffersons in Europe. Delors and Mitterands and Kohls, but no Jeffersons. Margaret Thatcher knew this, and told us so.
Thomas Jefferson, who was at one time Secretary of State, Vice President and then President of the world’s greatest free republic, chose not to say so on his headstone. Instead, he wrote: "Here was buried Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of American Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, and father of the University of Virginia."