Election '05: Now the phoney war is finally over...

Our panellists from the voluntary sector give the first of their weekly campaign summaries.

SHAMI CHAKRABARTI IS DIRECTOR OF LIBERTY

WHO IMPRESSED YOU OR TURNED YOU OFF LAST WEEK?

Dr Marion Fitzgerald, speaking on Today. Her measured comments impressed me as they exploded the myth that populist politicians have a positive impact on crime figures.

WHAT'S BEEN OF INTEREST TO THE VOLUNTARY SECTOR?

Tuesday's second reading of the Equality Bill, in which debate, in contrast to discussions on human rights, underlined the equal value of every person. I hope to see the Bill reintroduced as soon as possible.

WHAT'S MADE YOU LAUGH (OR CRY)?

Restrictions placed on protests in Parliament Square and beyond, as passed in the Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill. That so few people noticed another loss of liberty was enough to make me cry. JACKIE BALLARD IS DIRECTOR GENERAL OF THE RSPCA

WHO IMPRESSED YOU OR TURNED YOU OFF LAST WEEK?

Howard Flight, who has decided to put party loyalty ahead of ego and personal ambition and is not standing as an independent. It was principled, and must have been painful.

WHAT'S BEEN OF INTEREST TO THE VOLUNTARY SECTOR?

The falling of the Charities Bill, after we'd waited so long and it had got so far, was disappointing. But it's also not good to push things through at the last minute - I hope it will reappear soon.

WHAT'S MADE YOU LAUGH (OR CRY)?

What made me cry is that a friend, the Labour MP Debra Shipley, has had to stand down because she's in hospital with breast cancer. She's done an enormous amount for children in Parliament.

PAUL FARTHING IS MANAGING DIRECTOR OF TARGET DIRECT

Howard Flight's dignity when sacked as an MP. It makes one wonder how the Conservatives view employment rights. In a democracy, the electorate should sack MPs, not party leaders.

WHAT'S BEEN OF INTEREST TO THE VOLUNTARY SECTOR?

How quickly the agenda has rushed towards 'middle England'. Tax and spend arguments risk ignoring how people experience poverty and social isolation - charities can fill the void.

WHAT'S MADE YOU LAUGH (OR CRY)?

Comment by a local resident: "I don't like the orange poster, it clashes with my labernum." Despite saturation coverage, it's humbling for candidates that people can keep politics in perspective.

DIANE YEO IS A CHARITY CHAIR AND CONSULTANT

WHO IMPRESSED YOU OR TURNED YOU OFF LAST WEEK?

Wednesday's final PMQs before the election was a clash of the titans. Will the public be turned off by their gladiatorial style or be unexpectedly elated, as I was?

WHAT'S BEEN OF INTEREST TO THE VOLUNTARY SECTOR?

How a government treats the vulnerable tells us a great deal about it. I await with bated breath the publication of the party manifestos to assess who will do more on this issue.

WHAT'S MADE YOU LAUGH (OR CRY)?

The loss of the Charities Bill, after all the hard work and high hopes, is a great disappointment and an indication of the low priority given to the sector.

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