The Cypriot game
Like the Czech Republic of 1937, Cyprus may be a small, distant nuisance.
But if Angela Merkel, Germany and the ECB thought they could bully this peripheral state at their ease, they have received their response, for unlike Ireland the Cypriots bit back at a bailout that was as fiscally uncouth as Henry VIII's sacking of the monasteries. Cyprus is radically different from Ireland, but a remarkable similarity exists between the bitter chalice of ultimatums and the garnishing of the resources of the smallest taxpayers to pay the largest bondholders that both states secured from our European 'partners'. It is a measure of the decay of the European ideal that Cyprus believes Putin's semi-democratic playground for Russian oligarchs offers them a better alternative than the ECB. However, increasingly, the difference between the two appears to be one of degree, for old Maoists like Mr Barroso appear to believe the savings of citizens can be disposed of as arbitrarily as a kulak's farm. Happily, an Irish government would never annex the savings of our citizens. They instead confine their attention to our pensions . . . for now.