Simon Barrow's blog

Charity exemption is not the way to tackle a dangerous Lobbying Bill

Charity exemption is not the way to tackle a dangerous Lobbying Bill

There has been a united, determined campaign against the gagging impact of the Lobbying Bill on the part of voluntary groups and NGOs. Some will therefore think it a shame that a minority of charities, and the Charities Aid Foundation, have at this late stage chosen the path of seeking exemptions for themselves rather than focussing on the wider considerations.

The real lobbying villains are getting away with it

The real lobbying villains are getting away with it

Today (13 January 2014) the House of Lords is discussing Part 1 of the controversial Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill.

Lord Tyler and Baroness Williams attempt to buy off charities on lobbying

Lord Tyler and Baroness Williams attempt to buy off charities on lobbying

Lord Paul Tyler, Liberal Democrat spokesman in the Lords on constitutional reform issues, and Baroness Shirley Williams, former leader of Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords have attacked Caroline Lucas MP as "misguided and wrong" in her concerns about the Lobbying Bill – namely, that unless significantly amended (or better, scrapped and completely redrafted) it will let corporate lobbyists off the hook while gagging non-party organisations and unions.

Lobbying Bill trade union 'data grab' should also be resisted

Lobbying Bill trade union 'data grab' should also be resisted

Much attention has been focused on the Transparency in Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning, and Trade Union Administration Bill in recent weeks – notably, its failure to tackle the real problem of 'big money' corporate lobbying, together with its attack on the democratic rights and free speech of non-party NGOs, charities, faith and belief groups and other civic organisations in the run-up to an election.

Agenda-challenging journalism matters

After a thoroughly enjoyable New Year's Eve in Edinburgh (a ceilidh at St James' Leith, and then a view of the city's fine fireworks celebrations), connecting with the broadcast, digital and print media this morning was a thoroughly depressing experience.

Greetings from Ekklesia: the real work of Christmas

Greetings from Ekklesia: the real work of Christmas

Ekklesia's voluntary staff and associates would like to extend the warmest greetings to our many friends, collaborators and co-conspirators in these islands and across the world at Christmastide 2013.

Christmas: the arrival of the unexpected God

Christmas: the arrival of the unexpected God

Christmas is a time for reflection. But sometimes, thankfully, someone else says pretty much what you might have said yourself, and probably better. Gratitude to Giles Fraser for his seasonal Guardian piece, 'The Bethlehem story takes us deeper into what it means to be human' (24 December 2013).

Christmas cards help provide support to asylum seekers

Christmas cards help provide support to asylum seekers

Ekklesia has not produced any Christmas or New Year cards of our own this year, but we are very happy to encourage you to buy some beautiful ones produced by our friend Carrie Gooch, a visual artist who is a member of the Iona Community. The proceeds go to back support and advocacy for asylum seekers.

Osborne's agenda: who wins, who loses, who decides?

Osborne's agenda: who wins, who loses, who decides?

When the government speaks of 'recovery' (which may well turn out to be a bubble largely supported by consumer spending, inflated house prices and private credit), it is worth asking, 'what is being recovered by whom?'

Launching the vision of Common Weal

On Sunday 8 December 2013 I am happy to be joining some 700 people in Glasgow for a celebratory Common Weal launch event, hosted by the pioneering Jimmy Reid Foundation.