Simon Carr: It may be a tragedy for Greece but eurosceptics are having a field day

Sketch: Mr Shepherd is starting to look like he could jockey any three of the four horses of the apocalypse
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The Independent Online

Gloating won't cure anxiety – but it certainly helps with the symptoms. The eurosceptics have been utterly vindicated and amid all the havoc they are having a lovely time. At Gisela Stuart's Urgent Question on the Greek bailout there was gloating of every sort. Wise, worried, sombre, saddened, metaphysical, muted, vengeful and exultant – that from Labour's most trustworthy monetary expert, Denis Skinner. He was delighted at the prospect of seeing "the back end of the euro".

Gisela has an honourable history of euroscepticism. She did exhort the Government to "wake up and prepare for the inevitability of the break-up of the eurozone". That's quite a prospect. The Treasury minister (one Mark Hoban) said the situation was under consideration. But obviously, he couldn't speculate. Jack Straw told him to stop weasling: the euro couldn't last and he should be frank with the British people, and that far better the euro be dispatched quickly rather than suffer a slow death. The minister accused him of supporting Britain's membership of the currency union. That's probably the only crime against democracy of which Jack Straw is innocent.

John Redwood declared that Greece went bankrupt a year ago, and only ministerial willpower had kept the illusion of life intact. Anne Main wanted to "put Greece out of its misery" because her constituents "wouldn't stand for it". She's a magnificent Tory creature, Mrs Main – if she ran a chip shop I'd be in there every night. Bernard Jenkin observed that "the nearer to the inevitable we come, the faster the denials will be made", and that there wasn't a single economist who believed that Greece could recover without devaluation. Richard Shepherd reminded us of the "hubris" of euro enthusiasts, who declared that monetary integration was "inexorable and inevitable". Mr Shepherd is starting to look like he could jockey any three of the four horses of the apocalypse.

Let those who like to gloat do so while they can. All sorts of existential questions are starting to be asked. What is money? – that's one. Is democracy up to it? – that's another. Are we really stronger together than we are apart? Apparently not. If there's going to be monetary collapse – will it cause another war? And most important, in the event of a credit event, will it be better having a very large mortgage or a very small one? Whatever you do, don't ask an expert. Ask Anne Main.





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