It is remarkable, in this technological and high speed world, how concepts defined by the ancients in Greece, by Sophocles, Aristotle and Homer remain so apposite. Today the word that most sums up the feeling in Brussels and the Chancelleries of Europe is Hubris.
Defined by the OED as "Presumption, orig. towards the Gods; pride, excessive self confidence" it is the perfect description of the mode of thought and attitude of the European elite.
One aspect of this hubris is the absolute belief that they know best, that they are wise and we are foolish. The masses are there to pay their taxes, to keep to the law, to work, and accept what they are given, unquestioned. The worst possible thing that can happen is that they, the multitude are given a say in what happens. The politician that cracks and allows the voice of the people to be heard is immediately traduced. Described today as 'dramatically irresponsibility' by the Europhile press, George Papandreou's promise of a referendum has opened Europe's Pandora's Box.
The people of Greece are going to be asked whether they are happy with the package offered by the elite. We do not know the language of the question but we do know the language of the debate in which it is framed.
Do you, the Greek people consent to sell your democratic soul for a financial deal that will allow your Government to continue to pay your wages? A deal that will leave you in debt by 120 billion Euros until 2020 and will mean that you cannot go to the markets to raise finance for a decade at least? This deal will also mean significant pay cuts and tax raises. It means that essentially Germany will run you once again.
On the other hand you will be told that a 'Yes' means that you remain in the Euro and confirms you as part of the modern world rather than slip back into the cold of isolation, reminding you of the dark days of the Colonels and a bloody civil war.
If you reject the elite's deal then you will be threatened by the very furies of hell. Disaster, depression, catastrophic economic effects. You may have your honour but you will be feeding on ashes. Make no bones about it; the options offered to the Greek people will be a choice between something awful, and something far, far worse.
Papandreou is no fool; he describes this offer as "a supreme act of democracy and of patriotism for the people to make their own decision." That it is. He also makes it clear that he will abide by the result. He himself is in favour of the package but has no option but to offer this vote.
If he failed to do so he would be railroading the Greek people into a situation where he will have mortgaged their democracy, their liberties and their freedom. He cannot do that without their permission. He must also be hoping that his brinkmanship will result in a better deal from Brussels. The calculation is clear.
Over the past few years whenever Brussels has had a choice between the end of their dreams or breaking their own rules, the rending sound that is heard is that of rules being cracked into kindling.
Of course this outbreak of democracy in a faraway land has massive ramifications for us. People here in the UK will look at it and ask themselves, if they can have a vote on their relationship with the EU, which is in essence what the Greek vote will be, then why on earth are we to be denied? Despite our own elite's blatant disregard of the wishes of our own people, the calls for a say will not go away and are set to become louder and more impassioned.
For long the fear of contagion has stalked the halls of the Berlyamont, the fear of economic contagion. But there is a deeper, darker fear that crowds upon their hearts. A fear of contagion that will make the financial crisis seem like a shadow. That fear is a fear of a democratic virus sweeping across the continent.
In Greek drama, Hubris is followed by something far worse, far darker, far more threatening to those in power. Democracy is that small voice of hope locked in the bottom of the box. Democracy will be Nemesis.
Nigel Farage MEP, Leader UKIP.