1. Have a happy Christmas – things can only get worse  (Guardian)
From local government to health, spending plans show the deepest cuts are yet to come, writes Polly Toynbee. This is bad news for Labour.
2. A case remains for economic liberalism (Financial Times)
The philosophy’s basic tenets hold sound despite the financial crisis, argues Samuel Brittan.
3. The west can’t direct the Arab Spring, but we can support it  (Independent)
You can't expect mature politics to be practised in countries like Egypt where political parties have been banned for 50 years, says Adrian Hamilton.
4. British secret agents need protection from lawyers  (Daily Telegraph)
We have been too slow at giving our spies vital protection against predatory lawyers, says Fraser Nelson.
5. NHS privatisation fears? Grow up  (Guardian)
Competition works, says Ian Birrell. This bizarre, nostalgic prejudice against profits only damages the health service.
6. That speech on Europe ... can we put it off?  (Times) (£)
The Prime Minister is in a fix, says Philip Collins. There is nothing sensible he can say about the EU that will also satisfy his backbenchers.
7. America’s fiscal fix could help Britain too  (Daily Telegraph)
Flatter taxes are one of the best ideas for raising US revenues – so let’s try them here, says Jeremy Warner.
9. Britain’s middle class is not just squeezed but deceived  (Independent)
The odds have always been weighted against the “little people”, writes Mary Dejevsky. But the disparity in power has grown since the banking crisis.
10. The BBC and bad public sector management (Financial Times)
High pay at public bodies stinks - they have taken the worst practices of the private sector, writes Andrew Hill.