Stand by as Italy bids to take over from Greece as Bad Boy to be Bullied by Berlin. I was particularly taken with Spiegel’s observation that the German media dismissed Italy’s ‘childlike refusal to acknowledge reality’….this from the main driver of a fiscal union based on universal faillite. Yesterday two German Ministers talked of “organising a eurozone without Italy if necessary”, and today Spiegel itself added that ‘The Italian election, in which more than half of voters backed two comedians in the form of Silvio Berlusconi and Beppe Grillo, shows Italians are unable or unwilling to grasp the depth of their economic plight, argue German media commentators. The ungovernable nation poses a major risk to the euro zone….’

Indeed it does…along with Greece, Spain, Italy and France. And then Holland, probably Belgium, and all the other puffed-up clowns who took the barmy decision to have a single european currency – a form of deluded hubris they compounded by then achieving membership of it through graft and mendacity. For ‘childlike refusal’, it would be hard to beat Merkel’s ‘decision’ to drop nuclear as an energy option for Germany, or Schäuble’s threat to disallow Greek elections, or the Brussels option of giving Athens a repayment schedule guaranteed to leave it in debt forever. But top of the kiddy-tantrum yah-boo-sucks league has to be the German persistence with an austerity so Scrooge-like in its dysfunction, it negates any and all of the growth without which the problem cannot even be addressed in the first place.

I keep searching for the One-Eyed Man in Brussels-am-Berlin. I’ve decided reluctantly after five years of searching that he or she simply doesn’t exist. Only thinly-disguised blind panic remains.

Another cracker is the Telegraph’s assertion that, because Britain’s economy did not stagnate but grew by 0.2% last year (according to revised official figures) George Osborne now has ‘some respite in the build up to his Budget’. That’ll be the respite aided by the loss of TripleA, the dire trade figures, and the hammering Sterling is getting at the hands of the markets, then. The voters, it seems (according to an FT study) expect the Draper to maintain course. There we go again do you see, with more of that damned childlike inability to face reality. No wonder Britain is moving closer to Germany in EU jockeying politics.

Anyway, our poor beleaguered Chancellor finally received the Mafia kiss of imminent death this morning: Olli Rehn told EC delegates that Mr Osborne is on the right track. Despite the overall annual economic growth we recorded, Britain’s economy contracted by 0.3% in the last quarter of 2012. This must have been the figure that clinched Olli’s decision to side with George. Bless.

The biggest fantasy of all, however, is that you can reason with fanatics – and their motives aren’t really quite as bad as that 4600pt writing on the wall might suggest. If you haven’t been there yet, go the comment thread at this morning’s Slogpost on Iran and weep at the staggering naivety being displayed by all and sundry. Or better still, read what the catatonically dynamic Baroness Ashton has to say about the progress of recently resumed talks with the Tehran regime: “I hope the Iranian side is looking positively on the proposal we put forward, we have to see what happens next.”

Ashton led the talks on behalf of the six ‘Great’ powers, but continues to turn a blind eye (again, we’re talking both of them here) to such details as France, Germany, the United States, China, Russia and Britain having offered at the talks to lift some sanctions if Iran scaled back nuclear activity that the West fears could be used to build a bomb…..and the Iranians replying along the lines of f**k off. But serious as all this is, you have to laugh at the omnidirectional Orwellian inconsistency of the Mullahs, who refused to agree to stop bomb-associated nuclear development….because they deny seeking nuclear weapons. Fine, then if you’re not trying to build weapons, stick to the stuff that’s not involved in doing that, otherwise we have to worry about WhyTF you’re doing it. But we aren’t doing it, we just like screwing around and scaring the BeJaysus out of you hahahahaha.

So there we have it: the euro goes from strength to strength, Chancellor Osborne from success to success, and Mahmood Ahmadinnejhad from uranium to plutonium. All’s well that ends well. Or something.

“See yer later mad dictator/In denial crocodile”

Earlier at The Slog: Nigel Farage, the shrinking Violet