oD visits No. 10

4 July 2005


The Prime Minister is not famous for reading policy papers. It is not that he is a potato, it is just that he prefers meeting on the couch and doing without the embarrassment of minutes that come back to bite you.

Nonetheless, his policy advisors do read. At least they do until they get into the House of Lords. So we decided to give them a copy of the openDemocracy debate on the politics of climate change.

Here is where to find a brilliant neat summary by Caspar Henderson, its tenacious and knowledgeable editor. He gives his best eight for quick dippers and analyses how six major themes are addressed: science and uncertainty; the rights and wrongs of Kyoto and after; global justice and development; technical and policy challenges; arts and imagination; and how to create more environmentally friendly cities.

My part was to hand it in to No 10 with Fernanda Ferretti so that Tony Blair’s environment specialists will have it in their luggage when they go to Gleneagles for the G8. Will it stiffen their spines when the leaders meet, will it convince George Bush? Be careful, cynicism is known to increase people's carbon emissions.





photographs by Jonathan Nunn.

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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