s the crunch approaches the atmosphere has changed. For six months the centre right in Greece was prepared to wait and let Alexis Tsipras try – and fail – to secure a letup on austerity. Now the old political establishment has understood he intends to take this to the bitter end: a default on Greece’s June payment to the IMF, with possible dire consequences for the banks as early as Monday night.
The ECB’s life support facility – known as Emergency Lending Assistance (ELA) – is conditional on Greece being “in a programme” agreed with lenders. I understand on Friday it was only the intervention of Mario Draghi, the ECB’s boss, that prevented the termination of ELA.