An opinion poll conducted in advance of next month's parliamentary elections in Germany suggests that some 18% of voters would cast their votes for Horst Schlaemmer if he were to decide to run.
The problem for German politicians and those who would have us take them seriously is that, far from being a serious player on the electoral stage, Herr Schlaemmer doesn't actually exist. He is a fictional character created by comedian Hape Kerkeling, apparently a kind of German Ali G, whose new Horst Schlaemmer Party campaigns under the slogan "Yes Weekend" and wishes to replace the country's eagle emblem with a bunny rabbit.
It would seem it is not only in the UK that the cosy charade which is party politics is in meltdown. For so many of these people the fear of electoral defeat, which they reassure themselves is merely cyclical, pales into insignificance by comparison with the fear of ridicule.
If only Screaming Lord Sutch were alive today to see this.