Election '05: Immigration and papal focus

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

SHAMI CHAKRABARTI IS DIRECTOR OF LIBERTY

WHO OR WHAT HAS IMPRESSED YOU OR TURNED YOU OFF THIS WEEK?

Channel 4's Election Unspun, where expert thinkers from civil society take on some of the most serious policy questions. The contrast with the election broadcasts was huge.

WHAT'S BEEN OF INTEREST TO THE VOLUNTARY SECTOR?

If it's "not racist to talk about immigration", is it politically correct to be sick of the way politicians bang on about it? The subject is continually 'problematised' by mainstream politicians.

WHAT'S MADE YOU LAUGH (OR CRY)?

The suggestion in a report that random drugs tests should be increased in schools. Is the way to encourage self-respect or respect for others to treat pupils like convicted criminals?

JACKIE BALLARD IS DIRECTOR GENERAL OF THE RSPCA

WHO OR WHAT HAS IMPRESSED YOU OR TURNED YOU OFF THIS WEEK?

I'm impressed by any politician who under-promises and over-delivers. So far there have been very few. The promises are becoming more undeliverable by the day.

WHAT'S BEEN OF INTEREST TO THE VOLUNTARY SECTOR?

I completed an online questionnaire that analyses where you are on the political spectrum. One of the questions was 'Do you regularly volunteer or donate to charity?'

WHAT'S MADE YOU LAUGH (OR CRY)?

The fact that the BNP has enough political support to be entitled to a Party Election Broadcast should make us all cry.

PAUL FARTHING IS MANAGING DIRECTOR OF TARGET DIRECT

WHO OR WHAT HAS IMPRESSED YOU OR TURNED YOU OFF THIS WEEK?

Michael Portillo, for saying what many Tories are thinking: focusing on immigration might be marshalling the core Tory vote, but makes them sound intolerant.

WHAT'S BEEN OF INTEREST TO THE VOLUNTARY SECTOR?

Labour's sudden revelation about cutting benefits for those 'refusing' employment should sound alarms bells. The offer of no benefits or an exploitative job is no choice at all.

WHAT'S MADE YOU LAUGH (OR CRY)?

John Whittaker, Ukip candidate standing in eight seats, has slightly missed the point of representative democracy. PR would be a better way to offer more choice and make every vote count.

DIANE YEO IS A CHARITY CHAIR AND CONSULTANT

WHO OR WHAT HAS IMPRESSED YOU OR TURNED YOU OFF THIS WEEK?

The election has become a competition over petty details. Has the Government delivered on its promises? Could the Opposition do better? These are the real questions.

WHAT'S BEEN OF INTEREST TO THE VOLUNTARY SECTOR?

The new-look Charity Commission has issued old-look guidelines on campaigning. It's an opportunity missed that will, I hope, be rectified by the time of the next election.

WHAT'S MADE YOU LAUGH (OR CRY)?

The Sun's red smoke demonstration of support for Labour sums up this election - a papal focus on party leaders. And it is the votes of the red-tops that count.

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