It's a good thing Moody's don't run Italy

Consistency: not the CRA's strong point.

We missed this yesterday:

4 October 2011, Moody's downgrades Italy to A2, saying "the fragile market sentiment that continues to surround euro area sovereigns with high levels of debt implies materially increased financing costs and funding risks for Italy". Berlusconi promises to cut spending and debt, saying "the Italian government is working with the maximum commitment to achieve its budget objectives."

14 May 2012, Moody's downgrades 26 Italian banks. The ratings agency gives three reasons for doing so, the first of which is:

Increasingly adverse operating conditions, with Italy's economy back in recession and government austerity reducing near-term economic demand.

S&P did the same thing in April, downgrading Spain for too much austerity. It's a good thing these organisations aren't hugely important worldwide financial actors, or anything, because "they don't know what they're talking about".

Intesa San Paolo, one of the 26 banks downgraded on Monday. Photograph: Getty Images

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

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Police shoot man in parliament

A man carrying what appeared to be a knife was shot by armed police after entering the parliamentary estate. 

From the window of the parliamentary Press Gallery, I have just seen police shoot a man who charged at officers while carrying what appeared to be a knife. A large crowd was seen fleeing from the man before he entered the parliamentary estate.

After several officers evaded him he was swiftly shot by armed police.

Ministers have been evacuated and journalists ordered to remain at their desks. 

More follows. Read Julia Rampen's news story here.

Armed police at the cordon outside Parliament on Wednesday afternoon. Photo: Getty

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.