Back page: My week - Rosamund McCarthy waits for the jokes

MONDAY: Dear reader, I am feeling frustrated with the editor of Third Sector. He has asked me to inject a few jokes into my diary piece. But what does he expect? I'm a sit-down lawyer, not a stand-up comic. Still, I am sure you can come to my rescue: there must be enough jokes about lawyers to fill this magazine from cover to cover.

TUESDAY: I plot the revolution over croissants and cappuccino with Neal Lawson, chair of Compass, the organisation attempting to inject leftist principles back into the Labour Party. Neal tells me that Ed Miliband is as close as close can be to Brown, and the left's main hope. Why oh why, then, didn't he push through the public benefit amendment in the Charities Bill?

WEDNESDAY: On the public benefit theme, I have a post mortem with John Grogan MP. He is at pains to tell me that his dispute with the NCVO for ditching the amendment is "water under the bridge". He hopes that "Campbell Robb has a long and fulfilling career in the civil service and it would be fitting if Stuart Etherington makes it to the House of Lords". Blimey, that's an about-turn. It contrasts with my heated debate over dinner last week with Stuart at the Reform Club, immediately after the Commons debate. Stuart told me he was a pragmatist. I told him I was an idealist. Stuart told me he got the best deal he could. I remain an armchair critic.

THURSDAY: I am ecstatic that Edward Fitzgerald QC, expert on the Terrorism Act, has agreed to assist the legal group I am co-ordinating that is looking at terrorism and the voluntary sector. It is worrying (to say the least) that the US war on terror is influencing the debate in this country about regulations for humanitarian aid. I first met Edward 12 years ago when I was assisting Lord Lane's committee on murder convictions. After being quizzed by Myra Hindley about when she might be released, I soon realised that I would be much better off sticking to charity law.

FRIDAY: Tesse Akpeki has asked me to brief Radio 4's Clive Lawton for his keynote speech at the NCVO/ONBoard Trustees' Conference on 27 November. Clive tells me he was at a board meeting this week at which, for more then an hour, the members discussed whether sub groups should be called teams, groups, working parties or task groups. Were these names too inclusive or exclusive, too scary or too staid? "Come on," he tells me, "let's keep our eye on the ball and stop being so politically correct." With that in mind, I await your lawyer jokes.

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

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