Is it any wonder fashionable architects in Germany are shaking their heads in amazement that such a drab, uninspired house could have been the centre of the storm that forced the German president, Christian Wulff, to resign last week?
In 2008, when he was premier of the province of Lower Saxony, before he became president, Wulff borrowed €500,000 ($660,000) at a favourable rate of interest from a friend to help buy the house. He later appeared to mislead the state legislature about it. He also holidayed at rich friends’ houses in Florida and Spain. Accusations of exploiting his position to his advantage were among a string of complaints of diverse misdemeanors that were considered incompatible with the virtuous conduct expected from the President of the Republic.
Some older Germans may remember a scandal on a somewhat different scale. In 1933, President Hindenburg appointed Adolf Hitler Chancellor of Germany.