lobbying reform

So, the PM's is in. The Chancellor's too, but a bit trimmed. Boris' is much bigger. Corbyn's was late. Many are unremarkable. What real difference has it made that that our political leaders have published details of their tax affairs? Not a lot.
What amazes me however, is that, as we have seen in previous 'scandals', there remain a diminishing few Parliamentarians who are so quick to consider outside interests, with not a thought about the risk to public perception of inappropriate influence...
This is a bad Bill that the government should be ashamed of. It introduces a register of lobbyists so limited that it is not worthy of the name and might actually make things worse. It wraps unions in red tape. And it means companies and trade associations can continue to lobby in secret while charities and campaigners are gagged.
The Bill would massively restrict the amount that campaigning charities and other UK community groups could spend in the year before an election whilst silencing us with unnecessary red tape. And if you're wondering why US-style funding systems don't yet exist in the UK, it's because they're already illegal.
The government's Lobbying Bill has come in for intensive criticism in recent weeks - and for good reason. We at Transparency International think it is an unusually poor piece of draft legislation, and ahead of the second reading last week prepared a briefing outlining how the Bill could be improved.
The 'Lobbying Bill', due its second reading today, would have horrifying implications for the way politics - and political campaigning - are practised in this country. Outrageously, it would suppress a range of legitimate voices, while doing very little to expose the murky world of lobbying.
When David Cameron said in 2010 that lobbying was 'the next 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 interests. Wrong because by the time he said it, the scandal was already happening.
Following outrage over expenses and the recent allegations of cash for questions, the need for change is urgent. Citizens feel let down by a whole range of formerly great British institutions whether it's the newspaper industry, the Church or the BBC.
As expected, there has been public outrage at the 'cash-for-questions' scandal with many again losing confidence in the British political system and more significantly, those elected to represent the best interests of the masses as opposed to the interests of the individual.
Lobbyists are like lawyers. Normally in return for coin of the realm they put forward their client's case for or against a particular proposition. Thus lobbyists undoubtedly can help to improve the democratic process and this should lead to better decision-making all round.