The news that Greece will fail to meet the troika targets yet again takes us into October and gives the lie to my prediction early in the year that it would all be over by September. The problem isn't that the Greek economy isn't dead - it is as deceased as a Norwegian Blue - but like a ham actor, she's stringing out the moment of passing, with the IMF and EU nailing her feet to the perch.
The Conservatives' strategy on Europe is to avoid the subject altogether wherever possible, or talk tough with fantasy pronouncements. As a fellow blogger has commented, the lights are going out all over Europe and the subject for debate at Conference is plastic shopping bags.
Cameron is no Statesman, Brown was actually a kind of anti-Statesman and Blair's image of himself as a Statesman was shared by no-one else. Neither have we been well served by Foreign Secretaries. For nearly fourteen years we've been fielding the reserve team on the diplomatic stage. Our foreign policy weakness is palpable, and with no clear analysis of the nation's interests and no foreign policy focus we drift with the Euro current hoping like Mr Micawber that something will turn up tomorrow.
An in-out referendum on Europe is not the answer; the public's appreciation of the issues is far more subtle than this. We are part of Europe, we want free trade and open borders for Englishmen but not for poor Europeans in the other direction. We want the EU off our backs and the power to decide our own laws; we want an end to the EU's tax levy, an end to the EU diplomatic service, an end to the interference of the European courts and of course nothing at all to do with a European currency. You don't need a referendum to formulate and put into effect a foreign policy strategy based on the above; you just need a modicum of leadership and Statesmanship from the government.