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Storm for Reform

12 May 2005
Storm for Reform Three things I forgot to add early this morning when I wrote about yesterday's potentially historic meeting. Action starts with the vigil at Downing Street when the new Parliament opens on the 17th. Its organisers have already decided it will continue to gather strength under the stirring banner, 'Storm for Reform'. Second, speaking of Conservatives waking up to the fact that modernisation can only mean they will never again govern in the old way (and if anyone has shown them that they shouldn't do so it is the present Prime Minister). Ferdinand Mount came out for voting reform in the Daily Telegraph. Not strictly a Tory - he did not vote that way in 2001 - he nonetheless wrote Margaret Thatcher's election Manifesto in 1983 and is, in a traditional sense, that difficult thing, a conservative thinker. Let's hope he is influential. Third, and as important as any of the above, the Independent has come out with a 'Campaign for Democracy' after its readers responded, or should I say 'stormed', it with letters, emails and messages to support its front page exposure of the electoral system. The British media monopoly that marginalised calls for a fair voting system may have been broken at last.

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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