Clegg's 'soak the middle class' plan destroys his credibility

Comment

Opinion digest: Lib Dem wealth taxes, why we should save the Cleggster, and deluded Republicans

LAST UPDATED AT 11:46 ON Mon 24 Sep 2012

EVERY weekday morning from The Week online - a daily wrap-up of the best comment and opinion articles from the morning papers and the top political bloggers. If you think we've missed a good one, please let us know. Contact us via Twitter @TheWeekUK.

CLEGG'S SHAMELESS APPEAL TO POLITICS OF ENVY
THE DAILY MAIL ON THE LIB DEM WEALTH TAX
With Nick Clegg's wealth tax proposal at the Lib Dem conference he has lost the last, tattered shreds of his credibility, says an editorial in the Daily Mail. He knows that increasing taxes on the wealthiest 10 per cent – meaning the three million Brits earning more than £50,500 a year – would slow Britain's recovery and cost the Treasury more than it would gain. His pledge to block further cuts unless the Tories agree "to soak the better off", isn't about the economic good, it's "a shameless appeal to the politics of envy". Clegg is desperate to curry favour with his party as his popularity slumps to minus 63 per cent. "There's nothing new about sixth-form posturing from a Lib Dem conference." What's chilling is that this party is in power.

NEVER MIND THE BADGERS – SAVE THE CLEGGSTER!
BORIS JOHNSON ON NICK CLEGG
It's time for Nick Clegg fans to echo those kindly folk trying to save the sweet furry badgers from the wrath of farmers, says Boris Johnson in The Daily Telegraph. We must save the Cleggster from extermination! Anti-Clegg sentiment is rising like a sulphurous cloud. Experts are claiming he is toxic for the Lib Dems and the Coalition and "should be defenestrated before the next election". But everybody, not just Tories, should be grateful to the Cleggster, for effectively laying down his political life and enduring "the most protracted political humiliation since the emperor Valerian was captured by the Persian emperor Shapur and turned into a living footstool". If it wasn't for the good sense of the Deputy PM, we would still have Gordon Brown in Downing Street, "chucking staplers around", and refusing to accept that "his policies of reckless spending had got this country into a colossal economic mess".

ROMNEY IS TOO RATIONAL FOR HIS DELUDED PARTY
GARY YOUNGE ON THE REPUBLICANS
After a fortnight of gaffes and worsening polls, critics have rounded on Romney's campaign, says Gary Younge in The Guardian. But when people wonder how Mitt Romney became the party's standard-bearer, they should first remember just how low the standards for Republican contenders were. Just think of Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Herman Cain. Romney's flaws as a nominee are only properly understood in the context of the flaws of the party that nominated him. The Republicans have become a party driven by the fringe but trying to appeal to the mainstream. In this light, Romney is not really letting his party down; he's "a far more competent and rational a candidate than it deserves". The real surprise is that "someone as plausible as Romney has lasted this long in a party so extreme and eccentric". · 

For further concise, balanced comment and analysis on the week's news, try The Week magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues completely free.