Whatever you may feel about Europe, it’s a safe bet that there are a few lady politicians in various nations who must, at different times, have felt distinctly sore after the best satirical efforts of the continental cartoonists.

Let’s begin our tour in Spain, back in 2009 when the Defense Minister was the talented and left-leaning Carme Chacon.

01 Carme Chacon

Unfortunately for her, she made a premature announcement of the withdrawal of Spanish troops from Kosovo. So the Prime Minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, had something to say to her:

‘Obama Surprised: If Carme Chacon is the smartest minister, what will happen to the rest of them?’

‘Obama Surprised: If Carme Chacon is the smartest minister, what will happen to the rest of them?’

On now to Italy, where the economist Elsa Fornero was the Minister of Labor from 2011 to 2013.

03 Elsa Fornero

Her ministerial career was marked by a series of gaffes, always a hazard for a politician and especially dangerous for a woman minister hoping to evade what Fornero got soon after taking office, when she claimed that there was no universal right to work. Well, actually that’s enshrined in Article 18 of the Italian constitution, as cartoonist Vauro Senesi felt obliged to point out:

'How many times must I tell you? Don't mess with Article 18!'

‘How many times must I tell you? Don’t mess with Article 18!’

Vauro struck again the following year when she wrongly reported the Italian unemployment figures. Evidently the distinguished professor of economics needed to be taught to count:

04 Elsa Fornero

‘So how many strokes have I given you?’ he asks. ‘65,000’ is her answer – which happened to be the statistic she misquoted. ‘Wrong! Start again!’

Still in Italy, here’s the labor leader Renata Polverini:

07 Renata Polverini

She had to resign in 2012 after an expenses scandal. So Prime Minister Mario Monti exerted his authority, first in private:

08 Renata Polverini

And then in front of two other leading politicians, Pier Luigi Bersani and Pier Ferdinando Casini:

09 Renata Polverini

We’ve already covered France in detail, but here’s an update.

10 Marine le Pen

Throughout 2015, Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right, anti-European French National Front, kept on predicting a spanking for her opponents in the regional elections. What actually happened was…

The National Front gets a bare-bottom spanking in the regionals!

The National Front gets a bare-bottom spanking in the regionals!

The party secured control of absolutely none of the regions.

More recently, injudicious use of a twitter account led to the revelation that the Minister of the Interior, Bernard Cazeneuve, is a spanking enthusiast. Cue the inevitable satirical response:

Cazeneuve 1

Especially since he was dealing with widespread public protest against a controversial bill being pushed through by his political colleague Myriam El Khomri, the Minister of Labor:


I demand absolute firmness with protesters!

I demand absolute firmness with protesters!

If, like the abominable Marine Le Pen, you’d rather be outside the European Union, I can only offer you Switzerland, where the conservative populist Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf is a senior national politician.

12 2015 Switzerland Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf

Her career was a checkered one: expelled from the People’s Party in 2008, but national President in 2012, and Finance Minister after that. In 2015, People’s Party activist Eros Mellini announced that he was standing in the local canton elections, and had his colleague Armando Boneff draw a cartoon showing what he hoped to achieve:

13 2015 Switzerland Eros Mellini spanks Eveline Widner Schlumpf

It was another political spanking that didn’t happen – because Eveline stepped down from government of her own accord at the end of the year!

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