After Ireland, why would anyone believe a word?
As rumours spread across financial markets that talks over a bail-out for Portugal had begun, Jose Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission, said: "It's absolutely, completely false – every reference for an aid plan for this country. It has neither been asked for and neither have we suggested it. It is absolutely false."
Mr Barroso's denials were welcomed in Lisbon, where Jose Socrates, the Portuguese Prime Minister, also felt obliged to intervene following fevered speculation. Mr Socrates, whose latest budget plans were approved by his Parliament yesterday, said: "The country does not need any help."
Mr Socrates should have stuck to being a footballer ...