Jim Armitage: Mother Merkel wags her finger to curb Greece's teen spirit


Click to follow

Funny, isn't it, how Europe's oldest civilisation has been behaving like its most obnoxious teenager. For a decade and more, Greece has been shirking its workload, spending on tomfoolery, disobeying its over-indulgent parents. Father France, after personal indiscretions of his own at the City's roulette tables, has rather retired from paternal duties, leaving poor Mother Merkel, and wealthy young Germany, to keep the naughty ward in order. A single parenting job from hell.

So now it seems her subtle strategies to persuade Greece not to pull out of the eurozone family has worked. For weeks, her eurozone machine has been fingerwagging about the appalling consequences of leaving the fold. That's been followed by the old "no skin off my nose" argument, suggesting (with knowing deceit) that the family will survive if its most troublesome member packs its bags. Parenting kidology to weaken Greece's confidence in the strength of its hand.

With the election hurdle out of the way, she can get on with the tough love job of keeping Greece on the responsible path. More concessions, yes, but with added German control over Greece's more intemperate teen spirit.

Now, how to deal with Spain and Italy? A mother's work...