For once, the recent lack of posts is not down to my fecklessness. This time, the useless wankers at NTL are to blame because they gave me a broken modem, meaning I was sans broadband for a full fortnight!
Those were lonely nights, I can tell you.
Anyway, since everything is right with the world again, I thought I'd give a word on the recent elections in Italy.
The results are in and Prodi, it appears, has won by 0.1 of a percent. Considering his opponent is a crypto-fascist ex-cruise singer who's led Italy kicking and screaming into the debacle in Iraq and has overseen the worst economy in Western Europe in the last 4 years, it's hardly a resounding endorsement for L'Union, Prodi's "center-left" coalition.
It's understandable, Prodi is a figure with his own history of corruption. He's also a rather dour economics professor. And he's admitted that he's keen to push through the kind of "reforms" that've just died in France.
On the other hand, the main far left party, Rifondazione Communista (the Party of Communist Refoundation), achieved very respectable results. They got 5.8% in the lower house of the Italian parliament and 7.4% in the Senate - about 4.7 million votes in total. Coupled with 2 percent for the Official Communists, it was a decent showing, and proves the success that can be had by standing on a anti-neo-liberal, anti-war platform.
Still, there will be problems for Rifon. As part of the center-left coalition led by Prodi, they will be held partly responsible for the policies of that government. And if the policies of Prodi include, as they probably will do, neo-liberal reforms, the question will be put: are you with or against neo-liberalism?
The main reason for joining the coalition that Rifon gave was that Berlusconi was so great a threat that they had to do everything possible to ensure his defeat. They also hope, as many have before them, to have some kind of "civilizing" role on the Prodi regime.
We'll see. In fact, it's not even clear that Prodi will take over. The marginal nature of the victory has given dear Silvio scope to "challenge" the result, and a recount may even be required.