Sometimes it feels as if things in Italy never change; at others that they change so quickly that it is impossible to understand what is going on. The political happenings in early March fell into the second category.

In the article on page 5 James Walston describes the political situation as it was on 3 March. A week later, when his page had gone to press, the focus changed. The spotlight moved from corruption scandals to a seemingly lesser issue. In Lazio and Lombardy irregularities in the lists of candidates vital to the success of prime minister Silvio Berlusconi