Greeks are starving. All 400 of the Orthodox Church's districts have now set up soup kitchens as many unemployed Greeks have exhausted their £100 a week unemployment benefit and now have no income at all. The number living on the street has soared; perhaps bearable in the Summer, but Autumn is coming fast upon us. All the nation's Sovereign wealth has gone to bailing out the banks. Meanwhile figures just released show the bankers themselves in the UK have enjoyed a bumper year, with £14 billion in bonuses paid out to staff. That's about £1,300 each for every single Greek citizen. Enjoy your champagne and coke, boys.
The truth is obvious for all to see; the degree of austerity that has been imposed in not only Greece but Ireland to save the banks is not sustainable. Greece must default; we've all known it. We knew it before the last bail-out. The choices open to Europe's politicians over the next few weeks boil down to
1. Another round of bail-outs to buy more time; this will postpone the crisis to Christmas. Hugely unpopular with the Germans who face debt growing to 110% of GDP
2. Fiscal and political Union in the Eurozone; but as the Telegraph reports today "The chances are that the EU will only take the step of fiscal union or common bond issuance at one minute to midnight on a weekend when it is clear that the system is close to collapse."
3. Do an Iceland and let the banks fail. The result would be a global financial storm; a strategy of great risk, but one that may just pay off. Their collapse would take all of that poisonous $500 trillion of derivatives with it and allow a fresh start.
Whilst mentally-ill individuals masquerading as left-wing comedians dominate the domestic headlines the real tragedy is playing out in Europe.