On the naughty step - Conduct that deserves a ticking off

19th October 2012 at 01:00

German politician in big trouble. Copy that

Plagiarism. It's a dangerous game. Especially in the internet age. All too easy for those pesky folk on that there interweb to run a few tests and find you out.

Spare a thought, then, for the German cabinet - not a phrase you'll hear resonating around Europe - which is this week reeling from the news that a second member of its merry band very possibly copied swathes of the academic work they carried out earlier in their careers.

Education minister Annette Schavan is only just holding on to her job after an internet campaign successfully (according to Der Spiegel) proved she had plagiarised chunks of her PhD thesis in 1980. Ms Schavan herself denies any wrongdoing.

What makes this story all the more remarkable is that it comes after Ms Schavan's former colleague, defence minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, was forced to resign for the same transgression in 2011.

While this esteemed organ of course accepts the principle of innocent until proven guilty, we also feel the apparent prevalence of academic plagiarism among German politicians - especially those of an educational bent - really can't get away without sanction. To the naughty step with you, German politicians, and give a thought to the eurozone crisis while you're about it.

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