A second division currency for a second division country with a second division economy - that was the scale of the Government's climbdown as Britain withdrew from the European exchange rate mechanism (ERM).
There are some bright spots in the British economy but if we remain in the second rank, Germany, as the leader of the premier league, will move sharply ahead, once the former east Germany has been sorted out.
The Government's monetary humiliation leaves it dangerously short of an economic policy. The ERM had the virtue of relative stability and squeezed out inflation faster than anyone had thought possible. But jacking interest rates up to 15% or even higher as the price for continuing membership of the European first division was beyond the British pain threshold.