Nosemonkey's EUtopia

In search of a European identity

So, about those libel laws…

Seeing someone arrive at this blog (at least, while Blogger was working) via Cafe Babel was rather nice, at first. It’s a decent site with regularly interesting content – nice to be noticed by them at last. Or so I thought.

As it is, in an article on the European blogosphere I find myself viciously libelled as “Eurosceptic” and “a declared anti-European”.

Then again, considering that according to the article I started this blog a year ago (try three – with continuous daily blogging for the last 20 months solid), and came 156th in the 2005 British Weblog Awards (try 12th in the UK section of the 2005 Weblog Awards), so maybe I shouldn’t take anything the article says too seriously. Especially as it states that “On average, about 40 people per entry vent their Euro-frustration on Margot Wallstrom’s blog” – the figure is nearer 100… (I’ll forgive them for thinking that my surname is Matthews, as everybody does – including the TLS, judging by my last piece in there.)

Still, is this seriously the level of research these things require? The only other blog, beyond me and Margot, to get a mention is the Brussels Journal – if you want good examples of EU-sceptic blogs what about EU Referendum, EurSoc or our man Worstall (who also has something to say about this)? All of them have been going longer than me, and are ACTUALLY EU-sceptic. And where’s the mention for A Fistful of Euros or European Tribune to balance it out a bit?

Admittedly, the Anglophone Euroblogosphere is heavily weighted towards frustrated Brits ranting about Brussels being bollocks, but what about the Frrancophone blogs, which did so much to raise the debate in the run-up to last year’s referendum? How about a mention for the likes of Netlex, Publius, Ceteris Paribus or Versac? And that’s before you even get started on blogs in languages I can’t read. This is especially bizarre as the article appears to have originally been written in German.

Note to Cafe Babel: if you want an article on EU blogs written by someone who knows what they’re talking about, I can offer relatively competitive rates. In the meantime, I may get in touch and ask for a retraction…


  1. How amazingly lazy. It's pretty obvious she only skimmed a few entries and hoped her guesses were factual.

    I think the major flaw is not even hinting that the Brussels Journal is a off-the-deep-end racist nutcase operation.

    But thinking you're eurosceptic is pretty awesomely wrong too.

  2. I seem to remember being told that it is written by teenagers though? Dunno if its still true, this was a few years back.

  3. I think you're thinking of Newropeans? I don't even think Cafe Babel's been around that long.

    It strikes me that the German reporter's English maight have been really poor, and that made her misread your about page.

    Otoh, the Guardian apparently managed to get it as spectacularly wrong.

  4. So you are not of the view that any publicity is good publicity? Do very many people read Cafe Babel? I have to admit though that the degree of wrongness is quite astonishing.

  5. If it was just using "Nosemonkey" I'd just laugh at the inanity. But as they use my real name (or near enough) and – as our man Worstall points out – at the bottom it specifically says "All published facts are verified", I'm not too happy.

    I've only had an extra 20 or so hits from the thing today, but it's the long-term, search-engine damage of incorrect information published on the internet that I'm worried about (as well as however many people will read the thing on Cafe Babel but not click through due to the insanely poor impression it gives of me and the blog).

    As I say, though – it's the real name thing that grates.

  6. *note to self – check the blog before sending the email*

    I found it because it turned up in a Google alert on ID cards, so anyone that took Justin's advice to set that up may have got there as well.

    It's pretty piss-poor journalism though, it's not even got a non-native-speaker excuse over it. Ah well. Retraction and amendment to story would be good I think.

  7. They must be bananas, surely it is just a myth. Even I know you are not eurosceptic and that's straight.

  8. It may be the name "Europhobia"…as silly as that seems.

  9. Good heavens, how awful. Apart from being totally wrong about you, this quote about Brussels Journal is almost hilarious:

    "This web journal on European politics was founded by a loose grouping of individuals with the ambition to gather opinions and facts about Europe beyond the established consensus of the media."

    A "loose" grouping? My ass. That they offer an opinion, not necessarily facts, beyond the established consensus of the media is true enough… sadly so.

    A few corrections would be in order, I think.

  10. I saw that and thought of pointing it out to you and mailing them to point out a few more interesting blogs.

    Then I saw how crap the article was and skittered away in horror. I'm not sure I could deal with Eurotrib being painted as a hard right-wing blog calling for the reintroduction of slavery.

  11. To be fair, I used to think you were a Eurosceptic blog and didn't link to you for a long time for that very reason. Then I actually read your stuff and you're now on my 'Must Read' list.

    I also thought Clive was your first (or middle) name. Sorry. Must be the lack of a hyphen that does it. My ex-wife did the same thing with her name and people were always getting it wrong.

    Still, look on the bright side. You may be being misquoted, but at least you're being quoted at all. No such thing as bad publicity, and all that…

  12. I am here to take some flack. I am the editor for the German language version of

    In short, you are right. The article is full of faults. This is why we have removed the article for the moment. is an experiment. We want to create a genuinely European media on the internet. We want to create a platform for people to express themselves in their own language and in doing so create a European public sphere.

    That is why is based on participative journalism. Everyone can contact us and write. But as often happens during an experiment, mistakes happen � especially when you are translating between seven languages. Of course, it is the editor�s job to ensure such mistakes don�t make the online edition. In the article which wrote about this blog, I clearly failed in my obligation. My apologies to Nosemonkey and the blog.

    We are still in interested in the theme though, and we will publish a dossier on the European blogosphere. We have invited nosemonkey to write for the blog, and I would like to hear all your suggestions.

  13. I am here to take some flack. I am the editor for the German language version of

    In short, you are right.

    You can tell Cafe Babel isn't part of the British media – it's willing to apologize when it makes mistakes…

    Good effort.

  14. Good show! (claps hands)

    Also…does nosy actually have any time after writing for all these blogs?

  15. epi – you think the blogging's bad? It's the paid stuff that's been the real problem recently: in the last month alone I've had articles in nine different magazines, not to mention the film stuff I do for an agency each month or all the editing, proofing and subbing of the day job. And STILL I'm having trouble keeping out of the overdraft. Such is London…

  16. "I am here to take some flack. I am the editor for the German language version of"

    This is "wirklich sehr nett von Ihr". Good show.

  17. aaah cafebable like the EU is an experiment. Both have failed then!

  18. Can something be done about this advertising? On my computer (Internet Explorer 5.5) it is overlapping the text so that it becomes unreadable.