LDV’s Sunday Six – 17 January 2021

Here’s my hand-clicked pick from this week’s Sunday newspapers. What have you been reading today?

An article in the Observer shows that those in the Red Wall seats stand to lose most from the Tories ending the £20 per week Universal Credit top-ups. Will any of the red wall MPs be tempted to vote for a Labour amendment to extend it? Or will the fall for Rishi Sunak’s idea to give families half as much?

In the same paper, Patience Akumu writes about the election in Uganda which saw the incumbent leader returned to power, despite the desire for change among many Ugandans.

There was once a time when the free world was a powerful ally in such matters but now it seems it has too many problems of its own to bother with yet another developing country grappling with a leader who will not relinquish his grasp on power. Following difficulties in getting election observers accredited, both the EU and US chose not to send any.

Perhaps the west feels that, with its own perceived failures, it does not have the moral authority to lecture Africa. Museveni and other African leaders love to hang on to this particular lifeline. Museveni, in a CNN interview, retorted that while Ugandans may have electoral problems at least they are not dying (of coronavirus).

As we prepare for an inauguration which many fear will see outbreaks of violence in the US, Scotland on Sunday takes us back 150 years to when Abraham Lincoln was sworn in, telling the story of how his life was saved when a Scottish detective uncovered a plot to kill him.

The Sunday Herald has some uncomfortable truths about Scotland’s role in slave trade and how our towns and cities benefitted from its profits.

But it was not just those who were directly involved in slavery who benefitted. The wealth derived from unfree labour in the plantations – including compensation – turbocharged the post-union Scottish economy, funding key infrastructure such as canals and waterworks and creating thousands of jobs.

“Slavery and its commerce also had wider effects; powering the Scottish Industrial Revolution and providing large scale employment in cotton mills from 1778, funding philanthropic initiatives in universities, schools and hospitals, as well as the repatriation of wealth to families of lower rank in wider Scottish society,” Mullen says.

The Mirror highlights how a Conservative MP’s company failed to pay casual workers the national minimum wage.

And, finally, the Independent reveals how victims of domestic abuse are being let down by lack of certainty over future funding, as well as insufficient resources to help them in the first place.

While the government released emergency funds during the public health crisis, providers warn the money was insufficient and tricky for services to access due to bureaucratic hurdles, with many having already run out of cash.

Jo Gough, chief executive of Rise, a domestic abuse charity which supports victims in Sussex, said they did not know how they would cope after the government’s March deadline for all organisations to use all of their emergency funding. The service has been forced to turn victims away, put stricter eligibility criteria in place, and close waiting lists for survivors seeking help.

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

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