Tomorrow's Vote: II - hang parliament

4 May 2005
Tomorrow's Vote II - hang parliament! Tomorrow’s UK general election will have some world significance because voters (and abstainers) will take out their judgement on the main ally of the United States in Iraq. Without British forces by their side, use of the term ‘coalition’, for the US invasion, already stretched beyond spin, would become farce. Michael Howard leads what is currently the main opposition party (although, if the polls are right – a big-if - it may not be so after tomorrow). Rather than oppose the war he declared that he is even more for the war than Blair. He is for ‘regime change plus’, going in without a care about legality or weapons of mass destruction. We will see what the voters think of that in the privacy of their voting booths. Many of those who I know want a hung parliament. This would mean no single party holding an outright majority. It would force Labour as the largest party into a coalition with the Liberal-Democrats. For Blair this would be a popular defeat and he would have to resign. Then, under Gordon Brown, this genuine coalition would have to agree to introduce more democratic, proportional voting as the condition of Lib-Dem support. In other words, it would be a vote to change the system. An inviting prospect. Can it work? To deliver such an outcome involves taking tactical decisions about who to vote for in each constituency. These may not then add up to a national change. Instead, it could lead to a fix designed to benefit the parties involved, once that will then be more than likely to give another kiss-of-life to modernisation of the old regime.

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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