By Ray Fleming

THERE were two powerful comments on the Greek meltdown in The Times yesterday. One was the brilliant Peter Brookes' cartoon showing two workmen standing in the rain looking at the ruins of the 5th century BC Acropolis in Athens; one says to the other, “We should have fixed the roof while the sun was shining...” The second was a rather unpleasant leading article entitled Membership Dues with the summary, “The German people have benefitted handsomely from the euro. Now it is time for them to pay up if they want to keep the club together.” In the opinion of The Times Germany should have known from the start that the euro single currency would end in disaster but saw the opportunity it would offer for a boom in German exports in Europe.

The article concluded, “The Germans do not accept any of the blame, of course, They just feel they are being ripped off by profligate Greeks and greedy bankers...If German taxpayers want the euro to survive they are going to have to foot the bill in the end. The sooner they get the idea the better.” To simplify the current crisis in this way is wrong. Then to add the line: “Britain has a clear interest in the crisis being resolved quickly. But that does not mean the UK Government should provide another cent,” is provocative and dangerous.