Election '05: Fear, eggs and baby Donald

Our panellists from the voluntary sector assess the second week of the campaign.

SHAMI CHAKRABARTI IS DIRECTOR OF LIBERTY

WHO'S IMPRESSED YOU OR TURNED YOU OFF THIS WEEK?

As politicians tried to make election capital out of the conclusion of the ricin trial, the bereaved family of DC Stephen Oake put them to shame with their dignity and compassion.

WHAT'S BEEN OF INTEREST TO THE VOLUNTARY SECTOR?

There were stories that charities might be involved in the running of contracted-out prisons. I shouldn't prejudge this story, but I do feel instinctively sceptical.

WHAT'S MADE YOU LAUGH (OR CRY)?

Mark Easton's report on the ricin trial inflamed a sensitive subject and owed more to Hollywood than the best traditions of the BBC.

JACKIE BALLARD IS DIRECTOR GENERAL OF THE RSPCA

WHO'S IMPRESSED YOU OR TURNED YOU OFF THIS WEEK?

All babies are justifiably self-centred and attention-seeking, but I was impressed by Donald Kennedy's impeccable sense of timing, which guaranteed him maximum attention.

WHAT'S BEEN OF INTEREST TO THE VOLUNTARY SECTOR?

Nothing. This is both depressing and surprising when you consider how many people volunteer, how dependent key public services are on the voluntary sector and that this is the Year of the Volunteer.

WHAT'S MADE YOU LAUGH (OR CRY)?

I was saddened by the demise of Rover - both because of the job losses involved and because I took delivery of my new MG last week and I have no idea what will happen if it breaks down now.

PAUL FARTHING IS MANAGING DIRECTOR OF TARGET DIRECT

WHO'S IMPRESSED YOU OR TURNED YOU OFF THIS WEEK?

Charles Kennedy's effort to take paternity leave deserves praise. But his tax gaffe halted an interesting debate on the work/life balance and where this fits into the tax-and-spend 'row'.

WHAT'S BEEN OF INTEREST TO THE VOLUNTARY SECTOR?

Labour's focus on volunteering could transform the sector or create a new burden of expectation and unwilling participants. People need the right opportunities - can charities change to offer them?

WHAT'S MADE YOU LAUGH (OR CRY)?

Polls, launches, personal attacks, media cynicism, soundbites and candidate mishaps - but little debate. No wonder the polls show no one is changing their mind. Fear is being used to increase turnout.

DIANE YEO IS A CHARITY CHAIR AND CONSULTANT

WHO'S IMPRESSED YOU OR TURNED YOU OFF THIS WEEK?

As the granddaughter of a feminist who threw tomatoes at politicians in 1906, I have a sneaking admiration for the student who threw a rotten egg at John Prescott's bus.

WHAT'S BEEN OF INTEREST TO THE VOLUNTARY SECTOR?

There is little or no comfort in the party manifestoes for those of us who fear that all governments think the sector is simply a means of providing cheaper and better services.

WHAT'S MADE YOU LAUGH (OR CRY)?

The worsening postal voting scandal makes me want to cry. It risks seriously damaging our democracy and our standing in the world, and needs to be dealt with urgently.

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