Lords away! Is 99 years 9 months long enough?

9 August 2007

Anthony Barnett (London, OK): The 100th anniversary of the 1911 Parliament Act can be spotted on the political horizon. Noting that, exactly 96 years ago today, the Act stated that there should be "a Second Chamber constituted on a popular instead of hereditary basis", Unlock Democracy have called for a democratic second chamber to be finally elected in May 2011, just three months short of the Act's centenary,

We call on the Government to commit to a timetable which would lead to the first elections taking place in May 2011, coinciding with the next Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly elections. This would be a realistic and practical deadline that would work well within the existing electoral calendar.

The call is part of the peculiarly named, indeed oxymoronic Elect the Lords campaign. But it is a neat idea to set a target date like this. Perhaps that campaign can now be renamed, '99 09 is enough'.

Parliament has now voted for an elected second chamber, and if its views are to mean anything, perhaps now is the time to create one.... But thave they thought rhrough the consequences? What is the new democratic upper house supposed to do? Just asking.

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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