Europe's titanic: A quick glimpse from a tiny inflatable off Crete's southern coast

This is, I warn you dear reader, no proper post. Written on a tiny inflatable boat off the southern Cretan coast, where my phone occasionally links up to civilised society, I manage to pick up signals from a predictably distressed Europe.

Of these signals, two stuck out, emitted by two ministers of finance: Italy’s and Ireland’s. I list them here without further comment. For there is nothing that needs to be added to their poignant content. Till I return to the civilised disorder also known as Europe, keep well:

Statement No 1, by Giulio Tremonti, Italy’s finance minister: This is a…“crisis moving through the world like a mutant.” “Today in Europe there is an appointment with destiny. Salvation does not come through finance but from politics. But politics cannot make any more mistakes. Just as on the Titanic, not even first class passengers can save themselves.”

Statement No 2, by Michael Noonan, Ireland’s finance minister: “For the first time since I became minister it is quite clear that everyone around the table in Ecofin now is seeing the problem as a European problem and as a euro problem rather than, or in addition to, the problems of the individual programme countries.”