Page last updated at 05:03 GMT, Thursday, 23 April 2009 06:03 UK

Papers moved over Darling


There is an overwhelming sense that Alistair Darling's Budget has fallen short of what had to be done.

The Financial Times says "a wide and deep chasm" lay in front "but it turned out that he had only the materials for a short and rickety bridge."

Jeremy Warner of the Independent says "this was one of the most unconvincing and wrong-headed" recent Budgets.

The Daily Express concludes that "the nation is hurtling towards bankruptcy at breakneck pace".

'Political war'

Nearly all agree that history was made in the Budget. The Guardian calls it "a return to class politics" - the Daily Telegraph calls it "class war".

The Daily Mail describes the new 50% upper tax rate as "a stake driven through the heart of New Labour".

The Times thinks "it is a declaration of economic and political war on the country's entrepreneurial class".

The Telegraph says it is "shabby cynicism" and comments: "They will not be forgiven for it."

'Robin Hood chancellor'

The Daily Mirror stands alone in applauding the Budget. "Just the job," it says.

It hails Alistair Darling as "the Robin Hood chancellor", saving the day by being "bold Labour", if not old Labour, and taxing the rich to "help the poor".

The Independent says tax will certainly be "the election battleground".

The Sun says the disposition of the forces for that campaign are now clear: "Labour is back to its high-tax, high-spending roots."

Growing recriminations

Eyebrows are raised at the release without charge of 12 men who had been questioned about an alleged bomb plot.

Security sources have told the Independent that the evidence amounted to one e-mail and a handful of ambiguous telephone conversations.

The Guardian says the police often find themselves having to weigh the risk of terrorist atrocity against ending up with "a few red faces".

There are growing recriminations over the operation, says the Times.

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