By Matthew Barrett
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After the botched and misjudged attack on Conservatives after the Autumn Statement, Nick Clegg has again attacked the Conservatives over taxes targeting the wealthy. In his "Letter from the Leader" email, available on Mark Pack's blog, the Deputy Prime Minister describes the "fair and balanced package" the heroic Lib Dems managed to achieve by fighting against the nasty Tories.
There was one paragraph in his email to Lib Dems that will particularly raise eyebrows. He wrote:
"Finally, we fought for our party policy of mansion tax. But the Conservatives have an irrational phobia against asking people who live in £2 million plus properties from chipping in a bit more when everyone else is making their contribution. So instead we agreed to ensure the richest pay their fair share by limiting pension tax relief for millionaires and increasing our efforts on tax avoidance."
I'm afraid, Mr Clegg, it is not irrational to oppose wealth taxes. Just because Tories in Downing Street and in Parliament don't want to introduce a tax on properties, does not mean they start shaking in fear at the thought of wealth taxes. It is a perfectly sane and respectable viewpoint, with plenty of economic and moral force behind it.
Mr Clegg tries hard to be taken seriously, but when he lets the mask slip, and he uses hyperbole more easily found in letters to the Guardian, or in Polly Toynbee's column, he marks himself out, yet again, as practising a deeply un-serious brand of politics. Why can nobody disagree with him without them being morally or psychologically suspect? Why must he insult people and viewpoints that differ from his? Why is he incapable of being civil with his opponents?