We’re floundering in debt, but others are worse off

Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi
Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi
Child refugees: more cash is needed from the government

COMMENT: Government needs to dig deep to find extra cash

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The eurozone crisis (don’t let these first three words put you off reading the rest of the column) has certainly separated the haves from the have-nots.

In one corner, sitting on the clever step, are the likes of Robert Peston, Stephanie Flanders and Evan Davis, to whom all things bewilderingly fiscal are meat and drink.

They unburden themselves of their vast knowledge while desperately trying not to flaunt it – though I notice Peston has been ordered to tone down his weird vocal gymnastics.

He now sounds vaguely human and not like a dalek exposed to sudden power surges.

In the opposite corner you have Kelvin MacKenzie and the other all-purpose rent-a-gobs who don’t really have a clue what’s going on but are still prepared to clamber on to the nearest available studio sofa and bluster about it for a few bob.

This has been of no help to us baffled neutrals, who have been waiting in vain for a television programme or a newspaper to come up with a Janet and John explanation of the crisis.

So, as the EU, the EFSF and the ECB joined 1,000,000,000 euros and a Greek ‘haircut’ of 50 per cent in a bewildering kaleidoscope of letters and numbers, I got back to doing what I enjoy most – studying the people involved.

There’s the Germans, led by Empress Merkel with her French poodle in tow, outraged at the impertinence of the Greeks for not doing what they are told.

There’s former Greek premier, George Papandreou, determined not to do anyone’s bidding (especially the Germans’) without making a show of consulting his people first.

There’s the Italians, led by the priapic Berlusconi, who has turned a national crisis into a personal mini-opera as he goes around with head in hands or is seen massaging his temples in moments of private angst.

Meanwhile, David Cameron and George Osborne are doing their damndest to make smugness look like genuine concern.

In short, we’re floundering in a quagmire of debt, but we’re not going under quite as fast as our ‘partners’ in Europe.

There – who needs Robert Peston?