There must be few comforts for Captain Francesco Schettino of the Costa Concordia at the moment. His name is being dragged through the dirt for, apparently, abandoning his post. While dodging the rotting fruit, it may console him to know that far greater ships are ploughing their hubristic way towards the rocks and soon we will all hear the crunch.
The Grand European Fleet is the first international maritime disaster on the charts. The slowest ships are looking ever more like the Costa Concordia while the Flag-ship and Admiral Merkel continue to demand that the entire EU fleet sails at the speed of the fastest ship.
Next the HMS Union, having broken with the Eurofleet, is in danger of breaking up itself. The Scots are demanding independence; they wish to captain their own wreck.
Meanwhile the USS Israel and the Islamic battleship of Iran look ever more likely to fight, dragging the oceans into yet another war in the Middle East. But enough maritime metaphors, let us sail towards clearer waters.
The driving force behind all the impending crunches is national pride. The Scots are proud of 'Scotland' and want a sovereign country, the unionists on the other hand are proud of the Union and all it has achieved. Of course, the obvious solution is to split Scotland like Northern Ireland/The Republic of Ireland - the pro-union 50% can remain part of the UK while the nationalist half can go it alone. Sadly this would only satisfy individuals rather than the pride of either group and subsequently won't happen.
Pride is also tearing apart the EU. Greece is moving ever closer to real default while half of the rest have just had their ratings downgraded by Standard & Poor. Merkel could ease the burden and stabilise the Euro through quantitative easing or jointly guaranteed Eurobonds but she won't - she, and the Germans, are too proud. They're proud of how economically clever they were when everyone else wasn't and they believe in a Germany that doesn't do financially daft things, even if that means watching while the Continent burns.
The pride of nations is equally at stake in the Strait of Hormuz. Obama can't back down because the Republicans won't let him, the Republicans won't back down because they are proud of an America that supports Israel and Netanyahu won't back down because he's a proud and belligerent maniac. In Iran Ahmadinejad won't submit because he believes in the national myth of a great Iran and the threats it faces - Iran needs nuclear missiles. Both sides are playing a giant game of chicken; frigates, destroyers, aircraft carriers and marines are bearing down on a new mujahedeen, Islamic warriors, Shahab missiles and the revolutionary guard. Both sides are too proud to pause and ponder.
So, what can be done to avert nautical annihilation that'll make the Costa Concordia look like an origami model in a bathtub? Well the answers to the first two problems contain the solution to the last.
In the face of crises such as Iran (and others, Syria for instance), it becomes apparent why England needs to stick with Scotland, why England and Scotland should stick with the EU and why England and Scotland and the EU should stick with Germany. They each stand little chance of influencing what happens in the Middle East or elsewhere as proud, sovereign and individual countries. Instead, as a Union, of either the Britannic or European variety, we might just be able to keep everything afloat.