Nick Clegg seems to have had a change of heart.
In a Guardian interview (quoted by the BBC) he has called for a “time limited contribution” from the richest in society beyond his party’s current policy for a mansion tax – taxes on properties above a certain value.
This is a departure for the Deputy Prime Minister who voted solidly for the millionaires’ income tax cut (from 50 per cent to 45 per cent) in George Osborne’s most recent attempt at a Budget.
Some might say that the turnaround is genuine, that Mr Clegg has rethought his position and, in light of the Coalition’s failing economic plan – which has put government borrowing up by a quarter so far this year – admitted that the Tory plan, to cut public services to the bone and tax the poor for the remainder, simply won’t make the grade.
But then we see that, in the same interview, Mr Clegg said he wants to see the return of David Laws to a cabinet position. Laws quit after having to admit he had claimed £40,000 in Parliamentary allowances to pay his partner’s rent. He spent 18 months on the backbenches. If you or I were to overclaim £40,000 in housing benefit, we would be jailed for six months.
So you can see that Mr Clegg is still a big fan of privilege and the principle that, when you’re in power, you change conditions to help your friends.
That’s why I say: Don’t be fooled by this man. He’s seen the state of the opinion polls; he knows his party could be cut down to a maximum of 10 MPs in 2015, and he wants to stop that from happening. That’s why he’s appealing for the sympathy of those of us on low or middle incomes. He wants us to believe that he identifies with us against the rich. In fact, he’s banking on it, even though he himself is a rich man from a privileged background.
What a morally bankrupt attitude (as I’m sure David Cameron might describe it, since he’s fond of that phrase).