Has Christine Lagarde just let slip the truth about the euro?

Ursula von der Leyen dispensing vaccines, with a halo over her head perhaps? Emmanuel Macron riding a tank to symbolise the continent’s strategic autonomy? Or various commissioners whose names no one can quite remember setting carbon targets, fining Google and Apple, and dishing out grants for roads, bridges and tunnels?  It remains to be seen just what the European Central Bank comes up with for its planned re-design of the euro banknotes. One point is perfectly clear, however: the makeover will reveal the currency’s true colours as a vehicle for European integration rather than an effective instrument of economic policy. In fact, if the ECB really wanted to redesign the

Boris’s cunning has allowed him to share in England’s Euro 2020 glory

You campaign in poetry, you govern in prose. That was the formula of legendary New York governor Mario Cuomo and it served him pretty well over three successive terms in office. But it’s not quite right. Not these days.  What Boris Johnson appears to understand and Keir Starmer does not is that a key factor is whether you know how to campaign in pictures. We are a long way from an election campaign, but the natural Johnsonian flair for a compelling photograph is already being revealed as a massive advantage for him when compared to the dull visual output of the opposition leader. Becoming the leader most associated with the

Euro 2021: Even Italy’s reserves are looking good

Italy 1 (Peroni, or Ciao, or something) Wales 0 Switzerland 3 (Albanian Gnome 2, Bosnian Gnome) Turkey 1 (Who cares?) Gallant Wales got themselves outplayed by Italy’s reserves but still go through to the next round, courtesy of not being thumped as badly as the Swiss were when they played Italy’s first team. Switzerland will probably go through too – so everybody’s happy, apart from the Turks. And that’s the kind of world I’d like to live in. One in which the Turks are embittered and taught a lesson and everyone else has a smile on their face. The Welsh knew it was about keeping the ‘goals against’ column down,

Euros 2021: Scotland have exposed the pointlessness of ‘taking the knee’

Scotland 0 Czech Republic 2 (Schick as a parrot, 42,52) Have you ever visited Carlsbad, now known as Karlovy Vary? I’d always had a faint hankering to live there, being hugely enamoured of what we once called eastern Europe, but I’m told it’s full of the most ghastly Russians these days. Maybe Slovakia is a better bet, somewhere near the Tatras. A Hungarian diplomat once asked me: ‘What do you call a Pole who speaks Hungarian?’ The answer – a Slovak. I like the fact they all hate each other, too. You should hear some Austrians when they talk about Slovaks. The mask slips and they begin to echo an

Euros 2020: Switzerland’s superiority complex cost them the game

Match 2: Switzerland 1 (Carl Jung 49) Wales 1 (Carl Jung og 74) Ah, the perils of arrogance and a superiority complex. Switzerland – historically perhaps the most over-achieving international football side in the world, alongside Uruguay – were hammering the Welsh. Mollocating them. This was a case of complete dominance; quick, incisive passing which left the sons of Glyndŵr confused and oafish. They scored in the 49thminute – after which, they decided they’d done enough for the day. These rain-soaked warbling valley dwellers were simply beneath their station, they reckoned – and they became dilatory, lazy, careless. They failed to track back. They gave up on attacking. The commentators –

Why did Scotland reverse their decision to ‘take the knee’?

Game One Turkey 0 Italy 3 The start of the tournament and the first game was overshadowed by the exciting news that Scotland’s players intend to kneel, when they play England next week. They had originally not intended to ‘take a knee’ – thinking it rightly (to judge from their press statements) a pointless and embarrassing bit of showing off. But they changed their mind, presumably after fevered phone calls from south of the border. They should have stuck to their guns: the kneeling has become a ludicrous vanity project for Gareth Southgate and the Football Association. It gets sillier by the day. Needless to say, neither the young Turks