A common refrain in Britain among journalists, bloggers, tweeters and the general public is that politicians are a weak-minded, venal breed. I sometimes wonder whether they realise that they live in one of the least corrupt and best-tended of all Western democracies. We needn't look very far to see why - a two-hour flight is all it takes.
Exhibit A: Silvio Berlusconi, until fairly recently one of the longest-serving prime ministers of Italy, yesterday pronounced that he was "the innocent victim of 'an incredible series of accusations and trials that had nothing to do with reality'.
Yes, the shameless old fraud, knowing that he will probably not do time at his age, is playing out the final act of his long-running tragicomedy crying "foul", that they were all out to get him. A pathetic old man, without a shred of self-respect.
Exhibit B: Mariano Rajoy, serving prime minister of Spain, has been pretty much caught red-handed receiving under-the-counter payments from a series of party donors (mostly construction magnates), yet continues to deny the blindingly obvious.
But perhaps the most exquisite exploiting of his current discomfort is a video, put together by the opposition Socialist party, interspersing moments from his appearance last Thursday in the Spanish Congreso and remarkably similar statements by Richard Nixon just before resignation. You don't need to understand the language to see how similar the two are.
In particular, both of them claim they have no intention of resigning (Nixon resigned a matter of days later).
All the while, some of us in the UK are still incandescent about MPs overclaiming their expenses, while others claim the incumbent government is "evil". But the wrongdoers over expenses were rightly punished, and proportionately; the government is wrong, not evil.
Personally, I like to think our politicians are mostly decent, with a few who are not. Either way, I would leave you with the thought that perhaps we should recognise that our little island democracy is not so bad, after all.