Every now and then the Mail likes to tell us that, despite the gap between rich and poor getting ever bigger in this country, despite rising food prices which are hitting the poor hardest, actually it's the middle class who are the poor lambs who are really suffering.
And their reasoning?
Gordon Brown was facing a twin backlash last night over Budget plans to raises taxes on alcohol and motoring which are clearly aimed at the middle classes.
A twin backlash? Isn't it just one backlash over one budget? And look at the other plural there - middle classes. Who are all these other middle classes then? Isn't one enough?
And is it really only the middle class(es) who drive and drink? The poor don't? The rich don't? No?
The Tories accused the Prime Minister of leading 'a war against the middle classes' by pushing up the cost of living with extra duty on beer, wine and spirits.
Oh I see, if the Tories say 'middle classes' then so must the Mail. We must slavishly follow the lead from our masters; it's what made Britain great. And yet... don't I remember Dave Cameron wanting to slap extra tax on alcohol the other day? It wasn't war on the middle classes then - he wanted to tax the poor's pleasures, like strong cider and alcopops. But that's all right according to the Mail. If the poor get taxed more, that's fine. The middle class(es) - evil!
Campaigners predicted law-abiding drinkers will resent being made to pay for the abuses of the binge drinking minority.
No, I think you'll find that isn't 'campaigners'; it's 'The Conservative Party'. This is the Mail just trying to push Cameron's barmy booze tax plans to try and provide a sliver of differentiation between New Labour and the Tories. Not taxing the rich, letting your friends in big business get away with it... obviously there's consensus there. It's just a difference in how Labour and the Tories would get the money out of the rest of us instead.
Instead of tackling the problem of drunken yobs, they say Alistair Darling is simply looking for ways to fill a black hole in the Government's finances.
Would tax really tackle drunken yobs? Aren't they by their very nature yobbish? Isn't that the point of being a yob, that you aren't easily dissuaded from doing things? Does anyone really think that a few pence on some booze will stop being from being loutish? Wouldn't it drive people onto cheaper and cheaper booze? Holes would appear in the Tories' classification, and be filled by new super-strength super-value drinks; as I said before, sherry could make a big comeback, for example.
And besides, there is a problem in this country with alcohol. Go to Europe and you see a different picture. It's a cultural issue. When you're on holiday, who are the drunken idiots - the Dutch or French or Italians? No. Brits on the piss, every time. More importantly, with those countries with massive alcohol taxes - Norway, Sweden - do their citizens turn into loutish nutcases when they've had a couple? No. Tax isn't the answer. Something else is wrong. Something much more complicated that you aren't going to solve with a bit of tax; something that goes back decades, in all likelihood, and won't be solved overnight. Why can't Cameron just come clean and admit it? It would be the more intelligent and reasonable thing to do.
The Chancellor will face the wrath of motorists as well if he goes ahead with a 2p per litre increase in fuel duty and a further crackdown on gas guzzlers.
I'm a motorist. I don't have any wrath on this subject. Sure, petrol's expensive, but oil is $107 a barrel - might that not have something to do with it? Yes, I know that a huge percentage of petrol is tax, but as if it's motorists who get the shitty end of the stick. Have you tried travelling on a train or bus lately? Imagine if you didn't have a car and you were stuck waiting for 45 minutes for a bus every time, which was rubbish, dirty and slow, cost you a fortune and stopped running half an hour before you finished work. Imagine if you had to go by train, with fares rocketing up well above inflation all the time. Wouldn't that be worse? Wouldn't that affect the poorest more than the middle class(es)? Or rather, wouldn't it affect the middle class too? Why doesn't the Mail care about that? Or are we just fretting about a few more quid on Lord Rothermere's chauffeur's bill?
Again he will be accused of attempting to disguise a raid on the middle class - this time by claiming he is helping the environment.
A 'raid' on the middle class? (Ah, there's just one of them now.) Really?
The Mail brings in the taxpayers alliance, a funny old organisation who've come from nowhere to gain some kind of credibility (at least in the right-wing press), but at least one of the comments - alongside the usual 'NuLab are evil, they're raising taxes!' - made me smile.
Motorists can't complain about higher taxes - the real cost of motoring has fallen 10% since 1997!
- Dave, Hull
I'm not entirely sure that's true. But at least not everyone is swallowing the Mail's Conservative Party broadcast ahead of the budget.