Caron’s Sunday Selection: Must-read articles from the Sunday papers

sundaypapsHere’s my pick of today’s Sunday papers. Please add your favourite stories in the comments.

First up, an article in the Independent reports criticism of Nick Clegg’s failure to put a woman in the Cabinet from Alice Thomas (citing her article on here) and from Presidential candidate Daisy Cooper.

Hannah Summers reports in the Sunday Times (£) on the casting for a new drama about the formation of the Coalition. Doctor Who and Sherlock writer Mark Gatiss, who also plays the shadowy Mycoft Holmes in the latter, has been cast as Peter Mandelson. Writer James Graham is interviewed

The pivotal part of the Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg has gone to Bertie Carvel, who won an Olivier award in 2012 for his performance as Miss Trunchbull in Matilda the Musical.

“It’s the texting, the calls, the clandestine meetings between the three leaders, but primarily it focuses on Clegg,” Graham said of the drama.

“He [Clegg] went from being this harmless outsider and figure of fun to facing this incredible rollercoaster and essentially becoming a kingmaker . . . Nobody had experience of building a coalition. They were bluffing their way through, which brings an endearing, farcical feel to it.”

The Observer leader comes out strongly in favour of releasing Harry Roberts, the man who killed two police officers in 1966. They say Theresa May’s plan to make sure life means life for those who kill police officers is “illogical.”

Ultimately, as the former Met commissioner, Lord Condon, has argued, a mandatory whole life sentence will put police officers at greater risk. Someone who has killed one policeman knows that they will spend the rest of their lives in jail. Put bluntly, they have nothing left to lose by going on a killing spree. And that makes them more dangerous to police officers. The parole board has decided Roberts, 78, is no longer dangerous. Let him out.

In Scotland on Sunday, Dani Garavelli writes compellingly of the plight of Mohannad Ashgar, aged 70, suffering from Paranoid Schizphrenia and in prison in Pakistan on a blasphemy charge.  It’s surely time for the British Government to do more to help him:

In the 21st century, jailing someone for profanity or irreverence is abhorrent enough; to do it to someone suffering from a mental illness, and then to deprive them of treatment, is barbaric. Neither Rana, nor the charity Reprieve, nor Asghar’s lawyer, nor the celebrities campaigning on his behalf believe he will last very long when he is moved back into the prison system from hospital, certainly not long enough for his appeal to be heard.

The situation is not straightforward; the Pakistani government doesn’t like outsiders meddling in its business and the UK government needs to maintain good relations. But if ever there was a case for both ­intervention and clemency, this is surely it.

Joanna Blytheman writes in the Observer of our growing disillusion with supermarkets and how discount stores are helping the independent sector to flourish:

But the discounters have done the UK a service by shaking up our shopping habits. More of us now shop more frequently for food and don’t expect to buy everything in one place. And this is good news for the lively, ever more buoyant and creative independent retail sector that, after three dark decades, has gathered its breath and is now going from strength to strength.

Is that true anywhere outside the south east of England? What do you think?

The Independent has some more research from that book Sex, lies and the ballot box which said that Lib Dem supporters have the most adventurous sex lives. This time, the research points to an advantage, albeit a small one for those candidates with names which begin with letters A to F, i.e. those at the top of the ballot paper.

Also in the Independent, John Rentoul has a bit of a go at Labour’s change of policy on fixed term parliaments. They now support five years rather than the four which was in their manifesto. Thing is, he doesn’t really explain why except that it was George Osborne’s idea. Does it matter?

This caught my eye as we are thinking of giving a cat a home. Rebecca McQuillan writes in the Herald “in praise of catwomen”

We have all heard of the “crazy cat lady”, the woman, usually older, usually single, whose numerous cats get the run of the house. The crazy cat lady is not merely a British construct; she is apparently jeered at in other European countries, too. Crazy Cat Lady is even a character in The Simpsons. Just a harmless joke? On one level, yes, but there is a striking parallel between this stereotype and the persecuted old women who once found themselves branded as witches: women who were past child-bearing age, lived alone outside male control and did not conform to the behavioural norms expected of them.

Cats were themselves persecuted in the Middle Ages, in large part due to their association with these older women who had them for companionship. Many were burned at the stake with their owners. Some speculate that cats were targeted partly because they are seen as wayward and prone to do as they please rather than submit to human control, challenging the medieval belief in man’s dominion over other species – an attitude that echoes the very objections men had towards single or widowed women.

What are your standout stories from today’s press?



* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Certainly this is missing from the list of stories:

    And there is been rather a complete silence on the subject of last weeks report by the (Government’s) Social Mobility Commission which concluded (among other things that “2020 could mark a watershed between an era in which for decades there have been rising living standards shared by all and a future era where rising living standards by-pass the poorest in society.”.

    If ever there was a call to arms for a radical progressive party that would be it. Unfortunately we have Clegg, Alexander and the pre-manifesto.

    If e

  • Possibly Simon. And believe that if you want but i think I’ve read elsewhere that the trend is not good.

    BUT you also have to look at that in the context of the other report – which is not optimistic

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