There are many reasons that the fate of Cyprus is being followed so closely in Britain. One is sympathy for those who are about to pay the price for the sins of a banking sector that was at one point seven times the size of the island’s economy. Another is shock at how the island, to which Britain granted independence just 53 years ago, now finds itself caught between Berlin, Moscow and Brussels. But the real lesson of Cyprus can be applied closer to home: when governments run out of money, they come after other people’s. Everyone is looking at Cyprus and asking: how safe are my savings?
In Cyprus, at least, when the government decides to help itself to people’s savings, it’s called theft. In Britain, it’s called ‘quantitative easing’.