The elections are over in Italy but that hasn't stopped the insults and accusations. After a most unedifying campaign it looks as though Berlusconi will go, but he isn't planning to leave quietly. And as the richest man in the country, and with control of much of Italy's media, he certainly isn't going to disappear. He's been accused, charged and thrown out before but still bounced back.
From an outsider's perspective, Italy's politics are murky at best. Living in the country you get very little sense of a direct chain of command. Central government is made up of bickering coalitions (sometimes resorting to fisticuffs in parliament) and it isn't always easy to see its effect on everyday life. Authorities are manifold and usually suspect. With constant allegations of corruption and intimidation at every level, right down to local village councils, many Italians will just roll their eyes and give that shrug when you ask who controls their lives and their country. Maybe they're making dark suggestions, or maybe they're just as confused as everyone else.
The Times, meanwhile, suggests that another Italian news story may not be unconnected to the election results - see page 2 of their story How Godfather was betrayed by his need for clean pants . As the Mafia boss Bernardo Provenzano is finally arrested, we're left, as usual, to reflect on the fact that these rare arrests generally take place in or close to the fugitive's own family home; that during their decades 'on the run' they seem to spend most of their time in their own village, with their families. Read Peter Robb's excellent Midnight in Sicily for great coverage of both the island, its crime and its relation to Italian politics.