From a government that promised that it would fix our broken politics, this really is a Bill to be ashamed of. Despite a raft of panic concessions won by huge pressure from irate charities and third party campaigners, this is still a Bill that stands up for vested interests and shuts up everyone else... This is not what this legislation should have looked like. We have a desperate need for political reform in our country because people are switching off from politics in their droves. They want to see action to clean up lobbying because every lobbying scandal just erodes their trust further.
When asked to compile a guest list for a dream dinner party, precious few would add Education Secretary Michael Gove to the usual suspects of Ghandi, Jesus, Churchill, John Lennon et al; yet in Westminster political circles Gove is a shrewd and much respected political figure, a Svengali for New Tories and a man mooted as a future leader.
It is so useless that even Lynton Crosby - the tobacco lobbyist at the heart of Downing Street - wouldn't be covered by it. Both transparency campaigners and the lobbying industry agree that the government's toothless register is actually a step backwards from the codes of conduct and sanctions that already exist. The government should rename it the Let Lynton Lobby Bill.
When he was leader of the Opposition, David Cameron took no stands. His was a 'warm words' strategy. He showered the country with promises such as to prioritise the NHS and to lead the greenest government ever - which he then broke. Ed Miliband has taken almost the opposite approach. He has spent much of his leadership spoiling for a fight.
The five things you need to know on Wednesday 17 July 2013... 1) ARMS FOR DICTATORS From the Independent's splash: "The Government has issued...