My 350 on BREXIT: Fear and disappointment confirmed

“I avidly kept my eyes on the news in the hope that things would turn out not to be so bad.”

29 June 2016

In the aftermath of the historic British vote to leave the EU, openDemocracy is asking for our readers' thoughts on Brexit and what needs to happen next in 350 words. We've had an extraordinary response and you can read them all here.

My first reaction was one of fear and disappointment. Fear for the future should all the predictions come true, and disappointment that the truth had not got through.

Having come to terms with that, I avidly kept my eyes on the news in the hope that things would turn out not to be so bad. Unfortunately my fears have not only come true, but are in fact worse than I could have imagined. I am not talking about the economics of things, as that will take a while to become truly apparent, but the hatred and pure venom that is sweeping the country.

The people who have been in this country for years, living peacefully, working hard and making a contribution to our lives are suddenly being attacked by nameless bigots, if not physically, definitely verbally. Add to this the fact that these animals seem to think that, not only will immigration magically cease, but that every immigrant will be ‘sent home’.

How will they react should we join the EEA and as a result have to keep freedom of movement as part of the agreement? I fear they will riot!!

Norway was held up as an example of what we should aspire to. Well, they have to pay a tariff to trade, have open borders and have to abide by EU rules - but have absolutely no say in anything that is decided. I pray sense will prevail and the racists that are crawling from the woodwork under cover of Brexit will be firmly put in their place.

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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