Only lawyers could deliver such a result: the ESM is legal up to €190bn, and then it isn’t. The Karlsruhe Court has come up with a sort of three months abortion pill: yes, we’re going to get pregnant, but we’re still thinking about whether we want to start a family or not.

One can picture the scene a year from now: “Ach jah, Frankreich, you get the bailout, and it comes to €3.74. Wolfie says you can have it in three tranches, but every Frenchman caught working sur le noir must be slain”.

Thus is Tim Geithner’s desired eurobazooka become a German Zook. The Zook will be the new unit of currency in the Fiskal Union, a bailout mechanism built ready for the coming hyperinflation. There will be seventeen sovereigns to a Zook, but please: don’t ask for credit, as a refusal often offends.

We now have a two-tier sh*t-clearance scheme: one using real money that lends non-returnable money, and one using funny money that buys non-real money. So all that remains now is for Manuelo Barroso to explain how this is merely the forerunner to a federated system in which dour money will sell unreal money in a cash-for-options swap, after which hysterical money is refunded as real money. Mario and his team will be working on the details later.

Let’s hear it for the Zook.

Earlier today: Why the Troika breeds contempt.