Five minutes in parliament – May 2014

A bigger difference

NCVO recently launched our manifesto, A Bigger Difference: realising the potential of voluntary organisations and volunteersKarl Wilding’s blog gives a summary of the key points.

It’s necessary to put manifesto ideas before policymakers at an early stage in order to have the opportunity to influence party manifestos. The parties will want to announce policies at the autumn party conferences. Going to them with policy ideas after that risks missing the boat.

The NCVO manifesto looks at challenges and opportunities for the sector as a whole, but it is intended to give our members a framework to raise local issues with their candidates.

We have produced a guide to help our members contact their local MP and candidates (PDF, 60KB) to talk about the work they do, in relation to the policy recommendations in the manifesto.

Reading the polls

For a few days this month, the Conservative Party led the national polls for first time since the ‘omnishambles’ Budget over two years ago. The polls quickly returned to a slight lead for Labour, but have cast yet more uncertainty on the likely General Election result.

Constituency boundaries mean that Labour can win with fewer votes overall than the Conservatives. However, elections are won and lost constituency by constituency, which makes national polls not as straightforward as at first glance.

To understand what the polling trends are telling us, and what the implications are for the voluntary sector join NCVO and Tom Mludzinski, Head of Political Polling for ComRes, for a breakfast learning session.

Civil Society APPG

The Civil Society APPG’s most recent session looked at new landscapes in funding. We were joined by Big Society Capital, Barrow Cadbury Trust, and the Big Lottery Fund. You can see what we discussed through this Storify summary.

Join us for the next session on 8 July, where we’ll be joined by Civil Society Minister Nick Hurd to discuss youth policy. If you cannot make it in person, you can follow the debate on twitter with the hashtag #appgcs.

O parliament, where art thou?

Parliament sat for just 10 days in the past month, a period of 22 working days for most of us. It will return on 4 June with the Queen’s speech setting out the legislative programme for the coming year.

There have been accusations from across the parties that we have a ‘zombie parliament’, with a limited legislative programme and less opportunity to hold the government to account.

This is an unintended consequence of the Fixed-Term Parliament Act. For the first time, we know the date of the next General Election in advance, meaning election campaigning has begun much earlier.

Recommended reading

  1. Philip Collins’ Times article (£) gives good counsel on how much the local and European elections can be used to predict the General Election results.
  2. Paul Goodman’s blog for ConservativeHome suggests some likely candidates for the government reshuffle expected in the coming weeks.
  3. After the government published the Major Projects Authority’s update, the Institute for Government published this helpful comparison with the previous year. Even with Universal Credit excluded, it shows fewer projects rated green and far more in the amber/red rating.

And finally…

If your interests include both politics and dad jokes, then Chris Heaton-Harris MP’s twitter account is for you. This recent one is exemplary:

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Charlotte was our senior external relations officer and public affairs consultant. She has left NCVO

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