11 Mar 2016

We closed a lobbying loophole

We’re welcoming a victory today in our campaign to make lobbying in Scotland more transparent. Yesterday we received a letter from the Scottish Minister for Parliamentary Business, Joe Fitzpatrick, stating that the Scottish Government will now amend the Lobbying (Scotland) Bill in line with our recommendations - ensuring the most important lobbying organisations will be covered by the Bill. We […]
15 Feb 2016

Call me maybe - why the Scottish Lobbying Bill gets it wrong on digital comms

This is a guest blog, originally published by the Scottish Alliance for Lobbying Transparency . The opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Electoral Reform Society. By Pete Mills, Unlock Democracy Is there a big difference between a Skype call and a phone call? Not really, you might think. One can use video, the other can’t; one uses your data, […]
12 Feb 2016

Charities have nothing to fear from the Scottish Lobbying Bill

This is a guest blog - the opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Electoral Reform Society. MSc student Megan Elliot, who is conducting research on lobbying disclosure and its impact on small organisations, responds to fears that changes in lobbying transparency could cause a 'democratic chill' for small groups. This is reposted from CommonSpace. […]
7 Jan 2016

Scotland needs a stronger Lobbying Bill

Remember the phone-hacking scandal? It seems long ago, but we shouldn’t forget how much we learned about the ways big private interests try to influence policy. The Leveson Inquiry dug up all sorts of stories about News International’s lobbying of senior cabinet ministers involved in Murdoch’s BSkyB bid. In their book on lobbying, Tamasin Cave and Andrew Rowell describe the relationship between […]
13 Jan 2014

A democracy guarantee

Last week the Government made some significant amendments to its Lobbying Bill in the face of widespread pressure from civil society. We warmly welcome these amendments, especially increased registration thresholds, a shorter regulatory period for the next election to allow for guidance to be prepared, and a formal review of the new law. But as the Bill approaches Report stage on Wednesday 15 th […]
7 Nov 2013

Pausing the Lobbying Bill

The Government’s concession this week to pause and briefly consult on the worst aspects of the deeply flawed Part 2 of the Lobbying Bill demonstrates the power and importance of collective organising and co-operative campaigning. Ministers, MPs and Lords were faced with the united voices of 60 NGOs, charities and other third sector organisations plus hundreds of thousands of their members and […]
24 Oct 2013

Wales and the Lobbying Bill

The potential effects of the Lobbying Bill on democracy at the UK level have been widely discussed, and it is difficult to cover the myriad problems the Bill poses in a single blog. This is a sign of the limitations of the Bill, not of bloggers. The specific issue I want to address is the danger that the Bill will have acute knock-on effects on the quality of democracy in the National Assembly […]
28 Aug 2013

Keep politics civil

Often when discussing the necessary culture and institutions required for democracy to flourish, the need for ‘civil society’ is extolled – that is, the networks of non-state organisations which are formed by people coming together to deliver services or to campaign for change. These civil society organisations are seen by many as vital to an open and plural politics. In Scotland at least , the […]
18 Jul 2013

The Lobbying Bill: a missed opportunity

Guest writer Robert Barrington is Executive Director of Transparency International UK (TI-UK). This blog was originally published on the TI-UK website When David Cameron said in 2010 that lobbying was 'the next big scandal waiting to happen' he was both right and wrong. Right because it is an area which is ripe for scandal - a potentially unsavoury mix of money, power, politics and special […]