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By Ray Fleming

BRITAIN'S coalition government too often resembles a querulous family in which the siblings are all the time trying to show how much cleverer they are than each other.

The naughtiest of them is Nick Clegg who persistently tries to compensate for the parlous state of his party by claiming to have been the driving force behind any good thing the government has done. His attempt to take the credit for the U-turn on National Health Service reform infuriated the Prime Minister and cannot have pleased the LibDem's Shirley Williams who actually set the re-think in motion. Now Mr Clegg is trying to get what little credit there is for a scheme to make every British citizen a shareholder in the mainly government owned Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group. The idea seems to have hit him while on a trade mission to Brazil when his mind should have been on other things. But In no time Clegg's freebie, which he considers to be “psychologically immensely important”, is all the rage -- except among those who have given it a little thought. The most remarkable thing, though, is that is not Mr Clegg's idea at all but the brain wave of a City company called Portman Capital (an “investment boutique” I understand) one of whose directors was on the BBC Radio 4's Today programme yesterday to claim parentage.