The boffins at Eurostat have published figures for unemployment across the EU, which now stands at a 10.1% high, with obvious, if I may be so bold, “regional” variations. Without wishing to sound like a Eurovision, here are the results of the pear-shaped jury, and what a pear it is, with all sorts of non-standard lumps. And the lowest jobless figures go to The Netherlands and... welcoming Austria, at 4.1 and 4.9%, while right at the top we find Spain and Latvia at 19.7% and 22.5%. La Lettonie, vingt deux points! When you think that most states diddle their unemployment statistics, how much would we bet that there are many more than a nation-sized 23 million out of work across our fair union?

But a special mention has to go to Estonia. Estonia is a joy for journos, who of recent have been doing cartwheels over its e-government (you can vote online, hoorah) and 2011 accession to the Euro (whizz!). As one writer beamingly wonderedover pints of beer (I’d say about at least fourteen) with an Estonian citizen – “How does he explain his country's magical success and the self-confidence of his compatriots?” Well quite. In the first quarter of 2009 unemployment in Estonia was at an allahkhazam 11%. It now stands at a hey presto 19%. I know I said this blog wouldn't deal with Israel, but I don't even think the formidable Tsahal press machine, which all week has portrayed its crack troops as victim puppies in the clutches of the Gaza flotilla mob, could pull off a pitch quite as beer-goggled as the "magical success" of mass unemployment. Clearly, the land that brought us the parting of the Red Sea, the voice of God in the burning bush, etc, has a knack for tall tales, but for brass neck, Europeans are more than a match.