The Greek finance minister Stournaras was (I’m told) moved to ask one Troika negotiator this morning if he’d rather negotiate with Alexis Tsipras. It evoked the usual goldfish-faced blank response. Schäuble’s response to Portugal’s constitutional court throwing out the austerity programme there was to offer a statement suggesting he had full confidence on the Lisbon PM’s ability to ignore the verdict and find a way round it. (The little hobgoblin in the wheelchair gave a similar reaction when the German equivalent said the FiskalUnion was illegal under Bundesrepublik law).
But not too deep down, we have all become used to the reality on these issues: that there will be brinkmanship and threats…followed by Troika victory. Until recently, ClubMed had the excuse that it was genuinely frightened of what disaster might befall them – and the global economy – if they didn’t obey those they increasingly see as the masters…as opposed to the masturbators they really are. That kop-out no longer applies: in terms of economics, fiscal prudence, currency markets and ECB diligence, by far the best option for Portugal, Greece, Cyprus, Spain and Italy now is to default.