1. George Osborne's optimism disappears in autumn statement (Guardian)
The chancellor's bright-eyed optimism that served as the coalition's defining mission turns to dust in the Commons, writes Jonathan Freedland.
2. Time to use room for manoeuvre (Financial Times)
It is specious for Osborne to blame events beyond government control, says Martin Wolf.
3. We can see clearly on smog. So why not CO2? (Times) (£)
The arguments of climate-change sceptics are eerily reminiscent of those made by opponents of the Clean Air Act, writes David Aaronovitch.
4. Chancellor makes best of bad job (Financial Times)
There may be worse to come but Labour has been left scratching its head, says Janan Ganesh.
5. A seasonal warning on rape? Don't ask a Met policeman (Guardian)
There's nothing here to reduce sex crime or even any admission of officers' failure – just hyper-caution for the yet-to-be-raped, says Zoe Williams.
6. The day the Chancellor reneged on his promise (Daily Telegraph)
Osborne’s fiscal gutlessness in this budget shows a failure to engage with the enormity of the crisis, argues Peter Oborne.
7. Old rivalries stir in Japan and Korea (Financial Times)
The differences in the elections in Asia’s second and fourth-largest economies are striking, writes David Pilling.
9. Phoney war with Syria is better than a real one (Independent)
Signs that Assad might use his chemical weapons could change the rules, says an Independent editorial.
There's no reason ethical standards have to slip online, writes Timothy Garton Ash. The real challenge for journalism is how to make the internet pay.