The Lobbying Bill completed its House of Lords stages today (21 January 2014) with a large vote in favour of an amendment tabled by Lord Harries of Pentregarth, chair of the Commission of Civil Society and Democratic Engagement.
A poll of lobbyists found that only four per cent believe that the lobbying bill will increase transparency. This widely-criticised measure may block voluntary and community organisations and trade unions from flagging up public concerns. But clearly it will not achieve what is supposed to be its main purpose – making lobbying more transparent.
Nigel Farage has thrown out the latest UKIP member to provoke controversy through bigoted opinions. Farage says he wants to get rid of candidates with "extremist, barmy or nasty" views. But it is not individual candidates who are the problem. UKIP's official policies are extremely nasty, based as they are on an ultra-Thatcherite free-market extremism.
Anjelica Finnegan started work at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) this week and will be leading a new Joseph Rowntree Fund-financed research project to find out about the experiences of voluntary organisations dealing with the government's welfare changes in the Welfare Reform Act.
UKIP councillor David Silvester believes that Britain’s recent floods are the results of sin. You may be surprised to learn that I agree with him. There the agreement ends, for we have very different ideas about what the sin is and how it has affected the weather.
In the first Middle East Analysis podcast of 2014, regular studio guest Dr Harry Hagopian, a regional expert and Ekklesia associate, looks at the upcoming Geneva 2 meeting about the on-going crisis in Syria, Egypt's constitutional referendum, and other Middle East and North Africa related concerns.
Chief inspector of prisons Nick Hardwick accused staff at Harmondsworth removal centre of "a shocking lack of humanity" after two gravely ill men were kept in handcuffs. For 84-year-old Alois Dvorzac, who had dementia, these were not removed until after his heart stopped beating. Such cases show the damaging effects of xenophobia.