The response to the abdication of Juan Carlos and the comic-opera events which took place yesterday (4 June) in the palace of Westminster illustrate both the absurdity and the emotional pull of monarchy.
The UK government may believe it has triumphed by overturning even the House of Lords’ modest amendments to the Lobbying Bill. When this becomes law, it will gravely damage democracy and human rights. But defenders of freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association will not give up easily.
Even with the changes agreed as result of the Report Stage in the House of Lords this week, the UK government's Lobbying Bill remains a huge restriction on civil society campaigning compared to the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.
Amendments in line with recommendations in the second Commission on Civil Society and Democratic Engagement (CCSDE) report on the government's Transparency in Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning, and Trade Union Administration Bill have been tabled by Lord Harries, the former Anglican Bishop of Oxford, for debate at Committee Stage in parliament on Monday 16 and Wednesday 18 December 2013.
On 30 November 2013 government e-petition supported by Ekklesia and established by sick and disabled people passed the 100,000 signature mark. The organisers, most of whom are living with a serious illness or disability, were delighted and very grateful to all who signed.
Having followed some six hours of the House of Commons debate on Syria yesterday (29 August), while channeling news, commentary and media requests for Ekklesia, it was evident to me that concern, questioning and scepticism were the dominant feelings being expressed.