My week: Ros McCarthy is strident on Trident

Ros McCarthy discusses nuclear weapons over dinner at the House of Commons, hears about recent governance changes voted at Leeds University Students' Union and despairs about dangers of databases.


Amazingly, I start the week with a 6am swim. My healthy regime lasts until lunch with Debra Allcock Tyler, chief executive of the Directory of Social Change. Debra is up in arms that so many voluntary sector decisions get made by the usual suspects, behind closed doors, without real transparency. I dine at the House of Commons with Jon Trickett, MP for Hemsworth, and get caught up in dramas over nuclear warheads. Between starter and main course, Jon concludes negotiations with the Lib Dems, is lent the support of Charles Clarke and tables the main Trident amendment.


Lesley Dixon, chief executive of Leeds University Students' Union tells me that seismic governance changes have been voted in. The Leeds students (and there are 28,000 of them) are the leaders of tomorrow - their passion and curiosity about governance makes me feel alive.

Soho's Groucho Club is the setting for Third Sector drinks in the evening. How suitable, considering Stephen Cook's credentials as a detective novelist.

The guests are voluntary sector contributors to this journal, who sup Haymarket's drinks, then heckle Stephen during his speech, demanding payment.


The day of the Trident debate and a breakfast meeting with the Rethink Trident coalition, a mixture of MPs, NGOs and celebrities, including my heroine Annie Lennox. The Greenpeace briefing says the real cost of replacing Trident is £76bn and that this expenditure could be used to ensure a 12 per cent reduction in the UK's carbon emissions. It could also fund schools, hospitals and civil society. I despair that half the parliamentary Labour Party (including Tony Blair) used to be members of CND, but rejoice that there are still principled politicians, such as Nigel Griffiths, who are prepared to resign.


Talking of principled people, I am so glad that Helena Kennedy QC is chairing the Advisory Group on Campaigning. The group is made up of charities, campaigning groups and lawyers, including my colleagues, Bindmans and Doughty Street chambers. Campaigning is an issue close to Ed Miliband's heart, and our aim is for the warm glow emanating from the Office of the Third Sector to be translated into legal advances.


Reader, does your database ever cause you problems? I manage to sort out an incorrectly addressed mailing before it goes out, but am reminded of a real howler. On at least three occasions the Joyful Company of Singers was sent a mailing calling them the Joyful Company of Sinners.

Fortunately, it saw the funny side.

Rosamund McCarthy is a consultant for law firm Bates, Wells & Braithwaite and writes in a personal capacity 

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