Something to Say with Keith Newbery: Struggling in a quagmire of debt

THE eurozone crisis (don’t let these first three words put you off reading the rest of the column) have certainly separated the haves from the have-nots.

In one corner, sitting on the clever step, are the likes of Robert Peston, Stephanie Flanders and Evan Davis, to whom all things bewilderingly fiscal are meat and drink.

They unburden themselves of their vast knowledge while desperately trying not to flaunt it – though I notice Peston has been ordered to tone down his weird vocal gymnastics.

He now sounds vaguely human and not like a dalek exposed to sudden power surges.

In the opposite corner you have Kelvin MacKenzie and the other all-purpose rent-a-gobs who don’t really have a clue what’s going on but are still prepared to clamber on to the nearest available studio sofa and bluster about it for a few bob.

I suspect I’m like 98 per cent of people in this country who think they have a shaky grip on the key points before everything is suddenly swept away by another tsunami of numbers and acronyms.

I’ve waited in vain for a television programme or a newspaper to come up with a Janet and John explanation of the crisis – but none has been forthcoming.

So, as the EU, the EFSF and the ECB joined 1,000,000,000 euros and a Greek ‘haircut’ of 50 per cent in a bewildering kaleidoscope of letters and numbers, I got back to doing what I enjoy most – studying the people involved.

There’s the Germans, led by Empress Merkel with her French poodle in tow, outraged at the impertinence of the Greeks for not doing what they are told.

There’s departing Greek premier, George Papandreou, determined not to do anyone’s bidding (especially the Germans’) without making a show of consulting his people first.

There’s the Italians, who ,until Sunday, were led by the priapic Berlusconi, who has turned a national crisis into a personal mini-opera, often seen massaging his temples in moments of private angst.

Meanwhile, David Cameron and George Osborne are doing their damndest to make smugness look like genuine concern.

In short, we’re struggling in a quagmire of debt, but we’re not going under quite as fast as our ‘partners’ in Europe.

There – who needs Robert Peston?

IT APPEARS Iran is about to put the finishing touches to its first nuclear weapon – which it has promised to deposit upon Israel at the earliest possible opportunity.

If this unpleasantness is to be avoided, it is important the United States and Israel – with a bit of support from the United Kingdom and France – organise a pre-emptive strike.

We already know Cameron and Obama are not best buddies, and the entente between Cameron and Sarkozy is not exactly cordial.

Now, thanks to some idle chatter over a live microphone link, it has become clear Obama and Sarkozy are far from enamoured of Israeli premier, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Nothing like a united front in the face of a perceived threat is there?