What do Greece and an unemployed homeowner in Arizona have in common? They are both bankrupt with no hope of ever being able to pay back what they owe. As I wrote this, I realised it sounded as though I were making a joke (and a bad one at that). The reality is, unfortunately, not funny in any sense, but actually far more worrying.
What are we? English? Welsh? British? Are we bothered? Most of the time our "identity", national, religious or whatever, probably isn't at the top of our list of concerns. But sometimes circumstances come along which make us less secure in ourselves, less able to take our place in the world quite so much for granted.
On Saturday morning, I'm meeting Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the Greek Opposition and head of the left-wing Syriza coalition. We will be talking about the spectre that's haunting Europe: austerity. It may seem that Britain and Greece - at almost opposite ends of Europe - have little in common. In fact, we have lots in common, and lots to discuss.
Greece's impressive external rebalancing has culminated in the current-account deficit narrowing to 2.9% of GDP in 2012 from almost 15% in 2008. However, this process has mainly relied on a collapse in imports as a result of an ongoing sharp contraction in domestic demand, driven by fiscal austerity.
Under the blitz of current Orwell stuff in the media there's a recurring theme: what would the great man have made of the present day, and how right was he about the modern world? Recent chit-chat in my office was broadly positive about his "predictive" powers. Recent chit-chat in my office was broadly positive about his "predictive" powers: Doublespeak (modern political/managerial jargon?), Telescreens (TV, especially those tuned to the Big Brother house on Channel 5!), Napoleon, the revolutionary-turned-authoritarian pig from Animal Farm.