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

sundaypapsToday’s Sunday newspapers make interesting reading.

The Independent covers a report which suggests that drone technology could be a threat to nuclear submarines, meaning that our nuclear deterrent could be “rendered irrelevant.”

Paul Ingram, the chief executive of Basic, said: “In the past anti-submarine warfare has been carried out by a small number of highly capable ships and manned aircraft. Their task has been like that of a handful of police looking for a fugitive in a vast wilderness. Lacking the manpower to cover the whole area, they have to concentrate their forces on the most likely paths and hideouts, and hope for a lucky break.

With the advent cheap drones, the police are joined by thousands more searchers, who are less well-equipped but have the numbers to walk shoulder to shoulder and sweep the entire area. Escape becomes impossible.”

You know how the Department of Work and Pensions likes to encourage people to report their neighbours for benefit fraud? Well, the Observer finds that they spend time investigating them and find 85% of these reports to be completely false. Tim Farron is quoted:

Information received by the Observer states that more than 1.6 million cases of benefit fraud were opened between 2010 and 2015 after reports logged by the public. Responding to the figures, Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: “The alarming number of incorrect reports shows the system has failed, it should be the DWP which investigates benefit fraud, not your closest neighbours. This McCarthy-style reporting of benefit fraud is another example of the government’s desire to turn people against the welfare state and to treat sick and disabled people as second-class citizens.”

The Observer covers Hillary Clinton’s massive win in South Carolina, which takes the momentum back from Bernie Sanders but Michael Sandel looks at why Trump and Sanders are appealing to voters who feel let down. There is more than a trace of irony, particularly about Trump’s wealth:

Despite their ideological differences, Sanders and Trump are tapping into similar sources of discontent. Both speak to Americans’ sense of disempowerment in the face of big money and unaccountable power. And both are critical of mainstream politicians, Democrats and Republicans, who have, over the last three decades, become captive beneficiaries of the system. Unlike their opponents, both Sanders and Trump have refused to accept the support of so-called “Super Pacs”, funding organisations that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money on behalf of candidates, provided the spending is not directly controlled by the campaign. Their alternatives to “Super Pacs” differ, of course: Sanders has raised millions of dollars online in small contributions (averaging $27 per donation), while Trump, a billionaire, is funding his own campaign. In proclaiming the virtue of paying for his own campaign, Trump speaks bluntly about the corrupting effect of the current system of campaign finance, which effectively permits big corporations and wealthy individuals to buy influence with politicians. (He freely admits that, as a businessman, he, too, lavished campaign contributions on politicians in hope of future favours.).

Top of the Pops’ murky history comes under the spotlight in the Independent, with evidence that one female member of staff was ignored when she tried to report Jimmy Savile’s behaviour to senior management.

There was one woman who tried to stop Jimmy Savile, right at the start, the report reveals. Anna Instone, head of the gramophone department at the BBC, told her boss in writing before the first episode in 1964 that Savile was “a terrible man, terrible”. Bill Cotton, head of light entertainment, did not ask her reasons for saying that, even when she rang him up to say Savile was “a shit”.

He admitted as much for a documentary about Top of the Popsfilmed in 2001, although the footage was never broadcast. Cotton laughed and wondered what Anna Instone would have made of the knighthood given to Savile in 1990. As Dame Janet says, “With the benefit of hindsight, how wise Ms Instone was.”

In the Independent, John Rentoul thinks Nick Clegg might have been right after all:

For all the overheated language from the left about inequality, the record of the Coalition was surprisingly good. New figures from the Office for National Statistics last week confirmed that income inequality was unchanged in the 2010-15 period. This is something of an achievement at a time when the Government was cutting public spending, and Clegg is justified in claiming to have tried to balance the books “in the fairest possible way”.

He is right, too, to point out that the spending cuts planned for the next four years are very different, with the burden falling on the poor rather than the rich. I agree when he praises Cameron’s “poetic rhetoric” about an “all-out assault on poverty”, but points out that “the deeply regressive steps taken by his Chancellor, means it is insecure, hollow double-speak”.

In Scotland on Sunday, Jim Wallace highlights the importance of Lib Dems ensuring Euro-enthusiasts turn out to vote in the EU Referendum:

Our particular pitch will be to people who are already quite committed or very committed, to make sure that on the day they turn out. Because there would be nothing worse than people like that who don’t quite get round to it.

“That may particularly be the case in Scotland, where we will be going to the polls just several weeks after the Scottish elections and there might be an element of weariness.

“We’ve got a particular job to do in identifying people who are very committed and making sure that they turn out.”


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

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One Comment

  • nigel hunter 28th Feb '16 - 11:41pm

    Was Tim Farron quoted in the Observer or some obscure local? Not enough info.Tims comments could be sent to papers by the press office as a letter to the mass media to inform the voter of his comments.

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