Thursday, June 19, 2008

Cicero's Wrongs

The author of this post is not The Devil's Kitchen

Cicero is widely believed to have been one of the greatest thinkers of ancient Rome. However, if his latest post is anything to go by, the Liberal Democrat blogger going by that handle falls far short of living up to his name!

The post attacks Telegraph journalist Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, who wrote a story for last Friday's paper suggesting that some Germans are rejecting Euro banknotes from certain countries, and preferring German Euros.
Ordinary Germans have begun to reject euro bank notes with serial numbers from Italy, Spain, Greece and Portugal, raising concerns that public support for monetary union may be waning in the eurozone's anchor country.

In the article, Evans-Pritchard cited the source for this story as being the German financial newspaper Handelsblatt. Despite this, Cicero complained that he could find "no other reference" to the story, and suggested that Evans-Pritchard had, in effect, made it up.

In an update to his post, Cicero went even further:
UPDATE: I have continued to look, and there is no evidence at all, nor any source for Ambrose Evans Pritchard's story.

It is fiction, plain and simple.

This is a disgrace, and shows the depths that the anti Europeans are prepared to go to spread completely untrue stories.

Well, Cicero can't have tried very hard to find it. The source was, after all, mentioned in the article. Perhaps because it was (unsurprisingly enough) in German, a swift Google didn't pick it up - but it took me just a couple of minutes to dig up the story on the relevant newspaper's website. Did it not occur to him that a story about Germany might be in German?

Roughly translated, part of the linked article from Handelsblatt reads:
Bankers report that once in a while customers make an unusual request. When taking out cash they ask for the notes with German markings...

Cicero, if you are reading this, your post regarding Ambrose Evans-Pritchard is disgraceful. I can only assume you were so eager to land a punch on a Eurosceptic that honesty took a back seat. To accuse a journalist of peddling fiction on the basis of what has clearly been no research whatsoever is contemptible.


Frederick Davies said...

Cicero: Where is Babel Fish when you need it!?

Anonymous said...

Cicero wasn't necessarily the greatest political thinker (after all, he ended up getting his head cut off by that prick Mark Antony and, even before that, had a disturbing tendency to back the wrong political horse) but he was a massively talented lawyer, a skilled administrator and probably the single most brilliant orator ever to grace the Latin language.

Cicero the blogger, on the other hand, is a wank. And also very shite.

The Remittance Man said...

Actually Cicero (or the modern blogger who thinks he channeling the great Roman) does us an unintended, and supremely ironic, favour:

He illustrates how language, or rather the babel-like proliferation of languages, is going to be one of the seeds of the eu's downfall. Put simply, if we can't understand each other, how the hell are we supposed to "understand" each other?

Excuse me while I enjoy a brief moment of schadenfreude.

monoi said...

Well, its 6 of one and half a dozen of the other.

To equate "once in a while, someone asks a bank for euros made in Germany" (and I would say that you have to be pretty stupid, but idiocy is not something in short supply in the world at large), to "Some Germans reject euros not printed in Germany" (equal level of stupidity) which imply that you cannot buy something, is a stretch.

I am no fan of Europe as it proposed in the Lisbon treaty, but the euro is a good story.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Cicero also gets marked down for saying 'Anti-European' instead of 'Anti-EU'

To be fair, Ian QT says 'Eurosceptic' when I assume he means 'EU-sceptic.

Old Holborn - bitter and twisted said...

The Germans detest the EU

I shall write a piece, quoting sources, facts, figures etc of their utter contempt for Brussels. Because I speak, read and write German.

Then you can dip it in lard, coat it in broken glass and shove it roughly up the arse of Cicero


Anonymous said...

In fairness, though. Going from -

“that once in a while customers make an unusual request “


“ordinary Germans have begun to…”

does involve some spin.

Just saying.

Ian_QT said...

I didn't say there wasn't any spin, @anonymous and @monoi. There's a huge difference between a little bit of angling and "fiction, plain and simple", though.

Anonymous said...



( anon from 10:34 )

Rob said...

It is funny that an alleged "anti-European" can speak one of the major languages of Europe, while a self-confessed Europhile hasn't a fucking clue.

El Draque said...

Rob - it has been said before that euro-sceptics are more likely to be multi-lingual. Don't know of any hard evidence though. My personal position is that I can get by in two or three European languages plus English; I also loathe the anti-democratic EU.
I was also sceptical about the significance of odd-bods asking for German-printed notes - though useful if you don't trust banks and don't expect the euro to last. More significant is whether citizens outside Germany are getting bank accounts there, ready to switch their money into. No evidence for that either - is there?

dr cromarty said...

If I remember o-level economics rightly, one of the key rules was "bad money drives out good". Or vorsprung durch technik. Or something.