David Randall: Flaky Silvio playing high-stakes game with eurozone and world
Tomorrow, the markets will start to place their bets on the likelihood of Silvio Berlusconi stopping the eurozone debt contagion spreading beyond Greece to lands that are too big to be rescued. Italy will begin, under IMF supervision, to see if his government can rein in the spending that has already seen its debts reach 120pc of its GDP.
Thus will the stability of the eurozone be handed into the care of Europe's flakiest leader. It was not reassuring when, even after effectively being placed on probation by the IMF, Mr Berlusconi told Italian television: "Life in Italy is good. The restaurants are full. It's difficult to get a seat on a plane they're so busy; holidays are all booked up."
At least in Athens yesterday there was a genuine sense of crisis, with solemnity to match.