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The results do not add up

9 May 2005
The most astonishing aspect of the election is its utterly undemocratic result in terms of the parliamentary balance of power. The proportion of the votes were: Labour 35.2 percent Conservatives 32.3 percent Lib-Dems 22 percent Others 16.5 percent This is what the number of MPs should have been – and what they are: Labour should be 227 but is 357 Conservative should be 209 but is 197 Lib-Dem should be 142 but is 62 Others should be 68 but is 30 Others includes the Scottish and Welsh nationalists and the Northern Irish parties. The outcome is even more distorted in national terms. Overall, the Conservatives got 8,100,000 votes in England while the Labour Party got 60,000 LESS. The Tories WON England in votes cast. But they got only 193 English seats as against Labour’s 286. Certainly, one reason for this imbalance is that Labout has many safe seats in which there is little point in voting. A genuinly proportional system in which all votes mattered would have seen an increase in Labour votes. Nonetheless, the system is worse than a charade. Labour’s own proportion slumped from a low 42 per cent in 2001 to 36 per cent of the actual vote last week. Nonetheless it gained outright control of both the executive and the legislature. Why is there so little protest? Why aren’t the Liberal-Democrats making a real fuss? Why aren’t the Tory MPs that were elected planning to sit down in front of Parliament next week to prevent its opening until we are promised reform of the electoral system? If they did this and called on the people to join them, there would be a million and more overnight. Why is it that it is only Labour modernisers like Polly Toynbee and David Marquand are calling for Britain to have an ‘orange revolution’? The Tories dirty little secret is that they want to steal all power next time on a small swing of the votes. And the Lib-Dems? Well, they are celebrating their defeat. Somebody needs to do something about this. What about it, Charter 88, Liberty, New Policy Network, ACT, Make Votes Count? Where are you now your country needs you? PS: Gareth Young of the Campaign for an English Parliament predicted that Labour would only win a minority of votes in England in his comment on my 'Hang Parliament' entry on 4 May.

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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