Photo courtesy of the World Economic Forum
Well, Pirate voters, see where trying to be trendy got you? Now, as we Germans love to say, you have the salad. You went and let the CDU in.
That's the problem with democracy, isn't it? No one ever really gets what they want. Democracy is like life – a general fuzz of disappointment, strife and dissatisfaction that surrounds your head and occasionally puts a Frank Henkel-shaped pubic hair in the cappuccino foam of your coalition government. I'm not in favour of monarchy, but at least you know where you are with a divine ruler. If God says, "I want this in-bred maniac in charge," well, it must be alright, and you can go about your business reassured.
But there is one major drawback to monarchy. That is that kings, relieved of the need to do election campaigns and conference speeches and make other hectoring noises, have too much time on their hands and end up going properly mental.
Take Europe's last real monarchy, Russia. In all the wide world of politics, the job I would most like to have is King Vlad's press spokesman. Dmitry Peskov, for 'tis his name, must have a whale of a time communicating and justifying the Russian ruler's latest outdoors adventures - yes, the president has been sedating polar bears again etc. Not as much of a whale of a time as Putin himself, obviously.
But this week that lucky bastard Peskov really outdid himself. He announced that Putin's latest stunt – pulling an ancient Greek jug out of the Black Sea, like a dictatorial magician – was in fact staged, as people had assumed. There was something magnificent in Peskov's defiance:
"Look – Putin didn't find down there jugs that had lain there for many thousands of years. It's obvious," he said. "Of course they were found in the course of an expedition several weeks or days earlier. Of course they were left there or placed there. It's completely normal."
Normal if you're as mad as a bag of sticks and so drunk on power that the universe bends around you, he forgot to add. Well anyway, there ends today's lesson on the features and flaws of different political systems.