Home

Britain's compromise revolution

Britain’s voters have forced a two-party system to begin to operate by a three-party logic. And it’s about to get even more interesting, writes David Hayes in Australia's Inside Story.
David Hayes
30 May 2010

Something happened in British politics in the days after the general election of 6 May 2010 that will generate books, theses, conferences and public argument for years to come. By any routine standards of democratic procedure, its narrative heart was as banal as can be: a series of negotiations that led to the formation of a coalition government between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats – respectively the first and third parties in terms of the popular vote and seats won. By the standards of Britain’s brutal majoritarian politics – and indeed in light of the combative month-long election that had just ended – it was a high-level political compromise that felt (and still feels, three weeks later) like a revolution.

So the questions raised by these extraordinary six days in London go beyond (even if they include) the cyclical contingencies of electoral politics. Does the Con–Lib Dem coalition represent a crucial stage in Britain’s progress towards becoming a “normal” democracy, or does it highlight the country’s enduring democratic exceptionalism? Does the core partnership of the respective party leaders, David Cameron and Nick Clegg (now also prime minister and deputy prime minister), offer a true departure from discredited monopolistic governance or its restoration in different guise? More prosaically, will the government succeed in managing the acute public-debt crisis, and rule for a full five-year parliamentary term as it has promised? And how will the Labour Party cope with opposition after the thirteen-year hegemony of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, and which of its characters will emerge dominant now that the “New Labour” era is over?

[to read on, click here -]

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.

Had enough of ‘alternative facts’? openDemocracy is different Join the conversation: get our weekly email

Related articles

Comments

We encourage anyone to comment, please consult the oD commenting guidelines if you have any questions.
Audio available Bookmark Check Language Close Comments Download Facebook Link Email Newsletter Newsletter Play Print Share Twitter Youtube Search Instagram WhatsApp yourData