Politicians are constantly in the spotlight; hundreds of cameras observe their behaviour. It is thanks to these cameras that we know that the fathers of our nations are not following the best virtues and customs. They are more and more open about falling into habits - and we're not mentioning cigarettes, gambling, alcohol or their sideshow romances. We are tired of these things. Today, you have to demonstrate what you can do so that you are not forgotten by the voters. A look under the magnifying glass at a few political indulgences.
Sporting impulses: Ukrainian parliament, July 2006
A politician has a hard life. It is not enough that he or she has to consider the opposition and the media, who lie in wait for the slightest stumble. They also have to be careful about what they say. O tempora, o mores! as Cicero said - how do they keep their nerves at bay? The supporters of the Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko's bloc seem to have forgotten that they were in parliament and not at a football match when they decided to give vent to their discontent. They came to blows with Victor Janukowicz, a representative from the pro-Russian Party of Regions. This is called the will to fight for what is truly right. Difficult to control yourself when you are annoyed
Rebukes: Ibero-American summit, Chile, November 2007
The Spanish king Juan Carlos expresses his contestation towards the lack of culture shown by the Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez by asking him Why don’t you just shut up? Chavez was continuously interrupting the prime minister of Spain, Jose Rodriguez Zapatero, and calling the former PM a 'fascist', which irritated his majesty. The Spanish nation supports its monarchy and the new adoration for the king is shown with, amongst others, a mobile telephone ringtone. It is likely that Carlos’ saying will go down in history. Unlike Winston Churchills allegedly drunken remarks to labour politician Bessie Braddock, who called him drunk: ' And you, madam, are ugly. But in the morning, I shall be sober'
Self-admiration: February 2006
'I am the Jesus Christ of politics. I'm a patient victim. I put up with everything. I sacrifice myself for everyone.' Apart from his dedication to being a political martyr, the then 70-year-old 'emperor' of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, is often described as a prankster. Who else would play hide and seek with the German chancellor Angela Merkel by coming out from behind a lampost, like a rabbit taken out of a hat, crying Cucu! This was at an Italo-German summit in Trieste in November 2008.
Apart from his sense of humour, Italy's richest man is someone that takes great pride in his external beauty, hence his long list of cosmetic surgery; nose, chin, a few hair grafts and of course his incessant need to walk around in raised heels. Berlusconi is realistic in that he is only human, and has also decided to take care of his life after death. Near his palace, just a short distance from Milan, a private mausoleum is deigned not only for him but also his colleagues. Ave Silvio!
Edifying: September 2008
Janusz Palikot has also expressed his interest in real estate, specifically regarding museums. The Polish MP has made a name for himself after calling president Lech Kaczynski an 'oaf' in July 2008, and also for dangling a vibrator at a media conference in April 2007. His latest stunt was to buy an apartment belonging to the former justice minister Zbiegniew Ziobro. The latter was forced to sell up after being fined 30,000 zloty (6, 146 euros or £5. 421) for the slander of cardio surgeon Miroslaw G (as well as giving an official apology to the media) in September 2008.
Like a merciful Samaritan, Palikot sped up the process: 'With a noble gesture I have chosen to save their honour, and I publicly announce that I will willingly buy the apartment from Zbiegniew Ziobro. In this apartment I will create a museum of the IV Republic. For the first month entry will be free for everyone, and then later students will have free entry too!' Truly edifying, and little to do with his desire to save the struggling reputation of the former minister, this will bring a political torch of knowledge among the people of Poland.
Europe's affectionate leader is French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who likes to hug, kiss and pat his peers on the shoulder. What this Napoleon finds natural, is not necessarily acceptable to German chancellor Angela Merkel. Rumour has it, that in her offices a diplomatic note was passed around asking for restrained behaviour. Polish president Lech Kaczynski, also likes to display his happiness. He wanted to thank Sarkozy for winning him a seat at the energy summit in Brussels. He walked up to him with his hands in the air and his fingers were in the shape of a V. In Poland, this gesture means victory, but in the UK and New Zealand, for example the reversed victory is tantamount to the Italian elbow gesture (Kozakiewicz gesture).
The year 2009 has only just begun, and so we wait with baited breath for new affairs and scandals. The politicians will not let us down!