Peter Oborne wades in for civil society

4 February 2006

In this week's Spectator (web pages are closed to subscribers only) their political editor Peter Oborne comments on David Cameron's Demos speech. Oborne has welcomed the ascent of Cameron while scorning his support for Bush and silence on extraordinary rendition. Now he kindly sympathises with both David Marquand and myself (who clash over Harold Macmillan see below) for our despair over what he calls Blair's democratic centralism, or what I call his corporate populism. Oborne says Cameron's embrace of civil society is very significant and returns the Conservative party to its historic role as a more than a free-market cheer-leader. He also conjures up the figure of Harold Macmillan in his role-call of social heroes... END


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.

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