France torn by riots in the poorer suburbs of Paris.

8 November 2005
I have always found it painful to watch riots. Why are energetic young people so angry? The rioters in France appear to be immigrants from former French colonies. Most of them are French citizens but many of them do not appear to feel they are accepted as nationals. Integration or the lack of it is what defines the challenge for many governments. Today's nation states, especially those in the West, are more porous and mixed than ever before, and have become multi-ethnic and multi-cultural. This is bound to alter one's sense of national identity. The trouble is citizenship may no longer coincide with that identity. Governments do realize this, hence there are assimilation programmes for immigrants with various degrees of success. I suspect these riots are a reminder to the Europeans that they need to do much more to reconcile differences with their non-European citizens. In China, the rising number of unrests have to do with unequal distribution of wealth and opportunities. It is just as painful to see young people being denied a full education and know that in the years to come, they will fall further back in the development trajectory. How can we get mothers to unite, who can speak to the world on the needs of the young so that we do not disappoint them?

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals

To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.

By adding my name to this campaign, I authorise openDemocracy and Foxglove to keep me updated about their important work.

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