As economic crises rage across the Eurozone, it is still not clear whether we are witnessing the (relative) decline of Western Capitalism and the passing of the prosperity baton to the East (as the Olympic baton goes in the opposite direction) or just the latest Western adjustment to the fallout from the financial crisis.
The Chinese, sitting pretty on trillions of dollars in foreign reserves responded to being tapped up by an indebted Eurozone by suggesting that "European labour laws induce sloth, indolence rather than hard work." and told the Europeans to get their act together before looking for their help. (The US of A, having recently had its credit rating downgraded was not invited to provide assistance, presumably to spare their blushes.)
Last week, the crisis in Europe centred on the small Mediterranean country of Greece, perhaps but the Aperitif to a main course of Italy and Spain (with Ireland and Portugal as side dishes) for the perfidious and greedy Markets seeking to devour any country showing economic weakness.
The Greek political class, facing warnings of expulsion from the Eurozone and even from the EU itself, withdrew the 'threat' of consultation with the Greek people via a referendum and promised to toe the austerity line.
In Britain, strangely, there was little support for the Greek referendum position from the British Prime Minister, who, although using the promise of a referendum on Europe to get himself elected leader of the Tory party, was telling the Greeks to hurry up and sign up to the Euro austerity deal.
David Cameron though, finds himself in the very awkward position of needing to throw a few anti-EU bones to his anti-EU backbenchers to chew on in order to stave off further parliamentary rebellions, whilst trying to avoid a (further) dressing down from European colleagues for daring to talk down Europe at such a sensitive time.
The British Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr George Osborne has been eagerly repeating the (new?) Tory party line that greater European integration is required in Eurozone countries in order for the Euro to work - you simply cannot, so the argument goes, have such divergent economies as Greece and Germany sharing the same currency and with the same interest rates-unless there is central control of economic policy. Britain, Osborne insists, cannot and will not, bail out the failed currency. The European central bank, must be the lender of last resort for the Euro and stump up the cash to solve the Euro debt crisis.
Except, the European Central Bank does not seem inclined to do such a thing and instead, much to British annoyance, the supplier of cash to Euro countries in these crises, may well be the IMF - part funded by Britain. Ed Balls, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, opportunistically sniffing Mr Cameron's political blood has publically demanded that no British cash arrives in Europe even under the IMF flag of convenience.
So why does the European Central Bank seem reluctant to be the lender of last resort? Well if the BBC political correspondents are to believed it all boils down to one word 'Weimar' - that tragic period in German history when their severe economic difficulties were dealt with by quantitative easing (a practice now very worryingly popular in non-Euro and heavily indebted Britain).
Perhaps a couple of hours of heavy output from the Frankfurt printing presses and there would be enough cash to lend to Greece and Italy?
As the name suggests the European Central Bank- is a European institution - which might lead some to believe it should be run for the benefit of Europe as a whole but it rather looks to others, to perhaps being run by, and for the benefit of, only one country.
Germany, believed by many to be a 'good' European and a central part of project Euro, a project allegedly set to undermine the Nation states of Europe, is now perhaps showing her true (National) colours.
... surely all that frightful fretting by Eurosceptics over the threat of a European super state hasn't been for nothing?