The financial pundits seem to think that the European community can cope – albeit just – in bailing out a bankrupt Greece and the financially wounded Ireland and Portugal while the real concern is that the much larger economies of Italy and Spain get into difficulties. Saving those governments from defaulting on their debts would be verging on the impossible.

Yet the fears of just such a catastrophe continue to grow as the market demands an increasing premium on Italian and Spanish government debt. It increased again overnight and is now back around the level that existed before the last attempt by the European Union and the IMF to say that they had things under control as they promised more billions to Greece.