How I am voting

4 May 2005
People often asked me what openDemocracy actually stands for. I have always said (sounding ever more precious by the second) that it stands for openness, thinking hard, dialogue and, of course, democracy - but, as an organisation, doesn't support any political party or movement. But, I add, this does not mean that people who work at or with openDemocracy are , as citizens - or in the UK case, subjects - political eunuchs. This remains the case. openDemocracy does not endorse or support any political campaign or party. But those of us who work for it or with it may do so as individuals. I think we should be up front about about this. Make up your own mind but here's my view. I will be voting Liberal Democrat in the national election and Green in the local elections. Here's why. I support many Labour policies and actions, including their increased spending on science, health, education and overseas aid, but strongly disagree with or abhor others, including the aborted constitutional reforms that have concentrated even more power in the executive. And lying about the basis on which the country went to war is not acceptable - or at least was not in the case of the recent war in Iraq. I would like to see a future Labour government (the most likely outcome looks to be a reduced Labour majority of less than 100) held more accountable. I live in what is described as a marginal constituency: Oxford East. In the last election, Labour beat the Liberal Democrats by 19,681 to 9,337 - a majority of 10,344 (the Conservatives polled 7,446, all others combined 3,384). I could not vote Conservative in any forseeable circumstance (in this, I largely agree with an editorial by The Economist magazine, including on student fees and migration). I support the longer term growth of the Green Party along the strategy outlined by James Humphreys in his article for openDemocracy, and for this reason I will support them in the local elections. I know and like some Green candidates and sitting councillors, although I quite strongly disagree with some of their policies. I don't know or trust the local LibDems, although I do think their party has a handful of excellent MPs in the House. Because the LibDems are the only party with even a small chance of beating Labour I will vote for them. So Jacob Sanders, the Green candidate for Westminster, gets my support but not my vote. Steve Goddard, the LibDem, gets my vote but not my support. And Andrew Smith, the assiduous Labour MP whose speeches are like watching paint dry, gets the seat (probably).

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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