|Two heads of government have now been removed, not by their electors, but by Brussels|
But, as I have watched with horror the fallout from the euro crisis over the past few months, I have been unable to resist the thought that the devastation we are seeing, both to our economies and our democracies, is not the product of human folly but of deliberate and intrinsic design.
We already know that the euro was never intended as an economic device - which is just as well because the economics of it are insane - but as an inch towards political union. Jacques Delors, Helmut Kohl and Gerhard Schröder, among others, are on record as saying as much.
We also know that eurosceptics like myself (though, I regret, not myself as I was only 14) argued against the single currency on the basis that it could not possibly work without fiscal - and that is to say political - union between its member states.
This was, of course, dismissed as nonsense by those in favour of adopting the euro, who professed it to be purely a tool for promoting trade between the nations of Europe, for stabilising markets and for generally increasing the wealth of all who adopted it. Who could be against that?
But, as we have seen these fictitious sweeteners fizzle away like sherbet in a can of coke, I cannot bring myself to accept that the designers of the euro did not see it coming. They could not be that stupid.
Consider the way events have swung in the federalists' favour. The bubbles of the PIGS nations (which may become PFIGS if, as is feared, France follows suit) - themselves spawned by artificially low interest rates - have burst, sending forth bloody entrails of poverty, the scale of which has not been seen since the war, to rain down upon their citizens.
Illegal bailouts follow illegal bailouts, all the while inflating the scale of the eventual catastrophe, as political disorder breaks out among those nations' taxpayers as they watch billions of euros funnelled to greedy and foolish bankers while they foot the bill.
And lo! When it is finally recognised that bleeding the patient only serves to weaken him further, what gallops forth as the solution? Yes, our old friend, fiscal union. Polticial union. Federalism. Mo' Europe, mo' Europe, mo' Europe!
And, as with all great crises, further centralisation is demanded. As the voices of Portugal, Spain, Greece and Italy have crumbled, those of France and Germany have been raised to deafening levels. Chancellor Merkel, in particular, holds immense political power and used this hideous strength to scotch a Greek referendum which had already been announced.
The heads of government of Italy and Greece have now been removed, not by their electors, but by Brussels. And, even more alarming, their successors - the extreme europhile economists Mario Monti and Lucas Papademos - are not only members of no political party, they have never been elected by anyone in their lives.
Papademos, now prime minster of Greece, is still not a member of the Greek legislature and Mori, favourite to fill the now-vacant Italian premiership, was only last week appointed senator for life by President Napolitano - himself elected, not by the Italian people, but by parliament.
It is a fait accompli. The founders of the euro understood its inherent contradictions. They counted on them. And the medicine they knew they could prescribe was the very pathogen which caused the disease in the first place. Ever closer union, the relentless, piecemeal, march towards federalism and the final extinguishing of democracy in Europe.