It felt frankly humiliating the other day, as well as very painful in the pocket, to find, at the cash machine in the Piazza del Duomo in Florence, that my beloved pound sterling (said to be the world’s oldest currency still in use) would not even buy a whole euro.

I know economists are fond of telling us about the advantages of a weaker currency. Exports, they say, will soar and more foreign tourists crowd in and nationals stay at home (perhaps I should have been doing that), and in the very immediate term they are right since this is just what has been happening to the United Kingdom as the pound sags to new low points.

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