The Italian general election is now fixed for 24 February 2013 (there were problems with the overseas vote). Also fixed, or at least much clearer, is who are the serious contenders: Mario Monti and his Memorandum for Italy (which we know as a manifesto but the word carries unfortunate connotations in political Italy); Silvio Berlusconi and whatever he can hold together of the People of Liberty party (think total populism, anti-euro, anti-German); Pierluigi Bersani and the hard-Left controlled Democratic Party backed by extreme Left and eco-parties (no trade union reform, no economic recovery policies, depending on 'they have nowhere else to go' for support from anyone other than their control centre and leftist loonies).
Italy is now two trillion euros in debt. The cost of that debt has been reduced by half since Monti took over. Berlusconi and Bersani couldn't care less - they are in this for the gaining of power for whatever ends they have in mind (they aren't sharing their thoughts with the rest of us). Power is draining from the presidency of Italy as the President's term of office ends and as the reassertion of political gain above all else's dreary steeples of corruption and statist authoritarianism emerge once again.
As goes Italy so goes the Euro - and the world economy with it. When the Prime Minister addresses the nation at the weekend let's hope that those professorial tones, and complexities, will be enough to communicate, to a perfectly ordinary and very disgruntled electorate, that we need him for another couple of years and by then our impoverishment will have been rewarded with growth and stability.