My Week: Ros McCarthy meets the King of cool

Monday: I am knee-deep in papers, trying to draw together the Advisory Group on Campaigning's report. It involves 13 NGOs, is chaired by Helena Kennedy QC and is due to be launched on 23 May.

Rosamund McCarthy
Rosamund McCarthy

As it's the bank holiday, I still find time for a bit of entertainment. Have you seen The Lives of Others? If not, you must. It's a harrowing but ultimately redeeming tale of life under the Stasi in East Germany.

As I return to working on the report and its highlights of campaigning injustices, the film is a sobering reminder of the benefits of living in a liberal democracy.

Tuesday: Fiona Millar and I talk about her article in today's Education section of The Guardian on the Charity Commission consultation on public benefit. I update Fiona on the Charity Law Association conference organised by the indefatigable Ann-Marie Piper of Farrer and Co.

I must admit to leaving the conference depressed at the innate conservatism of some (but by no means all) charity lawyers, who want to row back from a modern interpretation of public benefit.

"Thank God for the clients," is all I can say. If it was left to the lawyers, very little would ever change.

Wednesday: I toddle off to an evening debate hosted by Progress magazine, called New Labour 10 Years On.

Neil Kinnock makes an impassioned speech for the party to have discipline, not recriminations.

I ask Neil how this is consistent with his fellow panellist Ed Miliband's talk of the need for honesty.

Incidentally, does Progress know something we don't? Ed's written billing is as a member of the Cabinet.

Former Labour MP Oona King, introducing Ed correctly as minister of the third sector, confesses that she finds his job title "spooky".

She tells the audience :"If you think David is going to be the next Prime Minister, you haven't heard Ed yet."

In turn, Ed reveals that Oona was far too cool to hang out with him at their comprehensive school - and still is.

Thursday: Dashing between meetings, I catch Blair's farewell speech on the television in reception. "We have awoken from a living nightmare," one Labour MP tells me.

I mustn't get distracted by politics because I need to prepare for a seminar I'm giving next week with public-policy expert Professor Albert Weale.

Albert has the gift of being able to distil complex ideas into the simplest propositions. No wonder he's the Charity Commission's wonder boy.

Friday: Having become a partner (again), I am off to the partners' away-day. My relationship with Bates Wells and Braithwaite is a bit like Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

It's good to be back in their arms.

- Rosamund McCarthy writes in a personal capacity and is a partner in law firm Bates Wells and Braithwaite.

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