From the Acropolis to the Forum

 | Oct 31, 2011 | 9:16 AM EDT  | Comments
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What's a European headline writer to do when all the steam has run out of the World War II references following last week's Europe deal?

If you're The Telegraph and still banging the doom drum, you go back to a little, old-fashioned European medieval torture. Southern Europe's democracies are being "broken on the wheel of the monetary union," according to the leading column.

But it doesn't take long to get back in the groove of talking about German occupation (cue History Channel promos):

Europe's inspectors will henceforth establish an occupation office in Athens to ensure the "full implementation" of austerity policies, for as long as it takes. Greece has been stripped even of the pretence of sovereignty.

But while the Sunday night column focuses on Greece, the market has already turned to Italy's financial fragility. The eurozone leadership has been hoping all year that the rest of the world would look beyond Greece. Well, it has, and Italy's bond yields are spiking. This morning we hear Italy's jobless rate jumped to 8.3%.

Think of Italy as Greece with more dire global default consequences, plus the bonus of a leader straight out of the cast of a Benny Hill sketch.

During the EU hand-wringing and last-minute meetings the UK and Switzerland have remained superior and aloof (slow growth and currency intervention notwithstanding). But now Brussels must be breathing a sigh of relief that the UK wasn't in on the EFSF deal, giving the chance for this heretofore unknown gem of the UK constitution to torpedo a deal.

Apparently Prince Charles has a personal, nuclear-option veto on legislation that may affect his private land holdings. That enables him to exert direct influence on laws. And while he should want to bail out Greece, given heritage, you can just see him letting SocGen fail because he opposes the design of its HQ.

Maybe it's just time to shift this monarchy into a state-sponsored reality show now?

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