The Eurocracy's contempt for the nation-states it governs is growing ever more flagrant.

It isn’t often that you are aware of the world order changing before your eyes. Last week, the European Union effectively undermined the democratically elected government of one member state and put another one on notice. The snuffing out of that little gasp of desperate rebellion in Greece, and the political chaos that followed, caused a moment’s embarrassment when the EU leadership had to face down questions about its commitment to democracy. But that blew over quickly enough: there could be no question of disregarding the will of the people, Angela Merkel insisted. The electorate of a country had every right to express its opinion in a referendum if its government saw fit to hold one.

She was seconded in this acceptance of sacred democratic principle by Nicolas Sarkozy, although he was rather less successful in concealing his disgust at the insolence of one wretched little country’s defiance of the great European oligarchy. But the tact and facile diplomacy ran out fast. Pretty soon, the European Union was setting the terms for this impertinent plebiscite: it could not – repeat not – simply be on the bail-out deal. The question would have to be whether Greece was to remain in the euro at all. This pronouncement was then almost immediately ramped up (with questionable legality) to mean that departure from the euro would necessitate leaving the EU itself. And it was this nuclear threat that almost certainly saved George Papandreou.

So the Eurocracy that had been saying only days earlier that Greece could never, ever leave the euro, whatever its people or government said they wanted, was now threatening to expel Greece not just from the single currency, but from the European Union. And Italy got the message soon enough: the EU is out of patience with the bad boys. No more messing around. So having once been adamant that no external agency would be allowed to oversee its country’s accounts, the Italian government announced that it was ready to open its books to the EU and the IMF. Its fiscal policy will no longer be a matter for purely national decision-making, and will therefore be beyond the reach of its electorate.

It's difficult not to empathize with this diatribe which is epic: