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"London United"

15 July 2005

When I went to Trafalgar Square just last week to witness London winning the Olympic Bid 2012 I encountered joy, happiness and excitement.

The contrast to what Trafalgar Square looked like yesterday evening could not have been any starker.

Instead of tears of joy people shed tears of sorrow. What struck me most was seeing London's mayor Ken Livingstone wiping his eyes with a tissue backstage right after he had made his speech. He must be devastated. I caught him having a refreshment after making his speech in the scorching sun to thousands of people.

Next to Ken there were speakers of different faiths, together with celebrities, such as newsreader Sir Trevor McDonald, calling Londoners to stay strong together, regardless their faith or ethnicity.

Everybody listened in silence, clapping every few seconds in agreement with statements of encouragement.

TV crews and photographers were running in between the crowd, stopping to interview and photograph the spectators.

Many had brought their own banners and posters. Others were holding white balloons as a sign of sorrow.

It was a touching an memorable event. Seeing thousands of Londoners shoulder to shoulder certainly proves that they stand united against the threats.

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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