Rather than just a little giggle or a snort of laughter, I find myself wracked by guffaws at this:
The eurozone’s debt crisis strategy was in chaos on Monday night after anti-austerity parties appeared on track to win a majority of seats in the Italian parliament, vastly complicating efforts to forge a government able to carry through EU-imposed reforms.
I always did think that Italy would be where the wheels came off the project.
In an earthquake result, the Five Star protest movement of comedian Beppe Grillo looked likely to emerge as the biggest single party in the lower house. The scourge of bankers and corrupt elites, Mr Grillo has campaigned for a return to the lira and a restructuring of Italy’s €1.9 trillion (£1.64 trillion) public debt.
The conservative bloc of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi looked poised to win the senate, coming back from the political grave with vows to rip up the EU’s austerity plans and push through tax cuts to pull Italy out of deep slump.
“The majority of Italians have clearly voted against the Brussels consensus. That is a damning indictment,” said Mats Persson from Open Europe.
The important point being that the Italian budget is, pretty much, in primary balance. Their continuing borrowing is solely to cover interest and maturing bonds. There is therefore, without too much chaos, the possibility of their simply saying bugger it. Declare a default and carry on. Or return to the Lira. For they don\’t have to keep borrowing in order to keep the governmental show on the road.
And don\’t we have an interesting political result here? If a majority of the demos doesn\’t want to follow the EU line, well, why should that demos be forced to do so?