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My 350 on BREXIT: We must make a paddle

“Could it be possible to ban lobbying altogether, returning to true democracy, giving the facts and letting people decide and not corporations?”

Kate Wreglesworth
5 July 2016

I am disappointed in Brexit. We had an opportunity to consider our position and future within Europe and have allowed ourselves to be distracted by an overzealous press and a few opportunists, some of whom have subsequently vapourised. I had thought it best to stay and change the EU. Now I am not so sure.

However, here we are. Up the creek. We must make a paddle. I personally have no stomach for economics, markets, IMF, Standard & Poors etc. What matters to me is the future, morale and dignity of our nation. We must defend the union for which so many people fought and died. We should respect one another, we are stronger together than apart.

I believe there are aspects of the EU which we will be better without. TTIP and CETA for starters. If we want to trade with the US and Canada, let Britain create the rules, not EU lobbyists. Could it be possible to ban lobbying altogether, returning to true democracy, giving the facts and letting people decide and not corporations?

We are resilient. Smaller farms could become important again. More locally produced food, fewer imports would create more jobs. Currently much agricultural work is done by incomers, because Britons do not want those low paid jobs. Let us have a decent minimum wage and no zero-hour contracts!

We must provide our children with a good education and the means to support themselves and their future families. We must care for the sick and the elderly. We must stop pushing young people through ‘universities’ like meat through a mincer, only to fall to the floor and be wasted. There is no shame in training to be a plumber, electrician, hairdresser or midwife. These are essential jobs, providing roofs over heads, food on the table and time to enjoy life with family and friends.

We will still trade with Europe, but without the high-handedness of Brussels which has become so difficult to bear. The vote has been cast. Let us move on, regain our dignity and build a better future for our people.

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.

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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