Embarrassing or funny? TV Cluelessness over Euro vs Pound

In the fifty or so times, I have visited the USA, the question often comes up about how I as an Australian feel about the US dollar. Half of the questions will ask me how I deal with switching from the Euro. Inevitably, people look incredibly confused when I explain that Australia does not use the Euro.

Apparently this confusion is quite universal as evidenced in this video from the TV show: Squawk Box. Scroll through to 6:55 minute mark and prepare to be amazed:

The commentators show complete ignorance and then tell Martin Shanahan, the head of Irish Development Agency that the whole pound and Euro thing is “too confusing” and “You have got to get it together“.  Cringe. Was it meant to be funny? Squawk Box is meant to be satirical but this was too uncomfortable! Imagine a Canadian telling the US off for the Civil War and asking why Texas isn’t part of Mexico and using the Canadian franc?

Me Shanahan looked decidedly uncomfortable as the discussion skirted topics such as the Irish Independence, Northern Irish “Troubles” and the recent Scottish referendum. He sensibly kept the conversation focussed on Irish golfing prowess! The IDA themselves did not criticise the television channel or the show’s presenters.

Here is a handy Euro map which may be helpful for European travel and/or appearing on national TV with dignitaries from one of those countries.

eu currencies


(For those who are wondering, the Republic of Ireland effectively gained independence  in 1922. Northern Ireland remained in the United Kingdom.  Ireland adopted the Euro as its accounting currency in 1999. Euro currency began circulation at the start of 2002. The United Kingdom uses Pound Sterling. Scottish banks issue their own Pound banknotes which circulate freely across the whole of the UK. In September, Scotland voted to remain in the UK. )

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  1. As an American who has lived in the UK, I do understand that not everyone knows which European countries use their own currency still or have switched to the Euro. But for someone who discusses money you think he would know, and if not at least shrink in embarrassment a bit. Him going on and on about how Ireland should use pound sterling went beyond ignorance to arrogance and seemed pretty offensive.

  2. Embarrassing. I was surprised Joe Kernan went on and on about the Euro and the Pound. Even more surprising was he started babbling about Scotland, and the guest had to tell him that Scotland was part of the UK and Ireland was an independent country. You’d think with a name like Kernan he’d be somewhat knowledgeable of his ancestral history. Andrew Ross Sorkin was probably sitting there rolling his eyes.

  3. Someone pull the lever that opens up the ground beneath all of the commentary team, please?

    I won’t head desk otherwise I will end up six feet under. That was an embarrassing display, let alone the carrying on after the initiating blunder.

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