Politicians are one of the least valued sectors of society, according to a survey undertaken by the Institute of Directors (IOD) amongst its members.

In terms of value to society directors voted as below:

1. Doctors 2. Judges (non-flashing, presumably) 3. The clergy 4. Teachers 5. Directors 6. Politicians

The view was echoed in a recent report in the Society Guardian which claimed that, given the “widespread public disillusionment about politics” and the “diminishing public trust in politicians” the voluntary sector has now become “the natural home” for people to fight for change.

A report by The Advisory Group on Campaigning and the Voluntary Sector identifies three main things that need to happen for charities to be able to campaign on a level playing field.

1. Changes to charity law which restrict charities from campaigning in the political arena unless it is ancillary or secondary to their prime function or central activity.

2. Changes in the 2003 Communication Act which bans charities from seeking to influence public opinion in paid ads on TV or radio, but allows large corporations to do so by classifying charities for the purpose of the Act as “political organisations”.

3. Changes in the well-meaning Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005, the 2000 Terrorism Act and the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 which all operate to discourage and stifle legitimate protest and lobbying.

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