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My 350 on BREXIT: Why the Guardian could not be more wrong

"The BREXIT vote was a vote to ‘take back control’ in an international system where this is nowhere on offer."

Rosemary Bechler
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.

The Guardian could not be more wrong on BREXIT and Corbyn this morning, precisely because Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour party is the leadership that they are calling for. He and those who voted for him are beginning to articulate – finally – a genuine alternative to the dangerous mess we are in, and being a genuine alternative, it simply does not cross the radar of the Parliamentary Labour party, so thoroughly schooled as it is in the ‘Realpolitik’ of our day.

The reason they can’t see leadership when it finally turns up is because it is representation that is in meltdown crisis throughout the liberal democratic world, and the reason for this is because democracy as even an option has been expunged from the modern political system, beginning with the national level. One strong account of this to be found by Wolfgang Streeck on the crises of democratic capitalism.

The BREXIT vote was a vote to ‘take back control’ in an international system where this is nowhere on offer. And the Guardian’s mistake is simply not to realise the scale of the implications.  Of course Corbyn’s leadership is not going to reconnect him with Labour’s heartlands overnight. One reason is because the only option thus far presented to Labour’s heartlands has been the representation of a whole range of MPs, as the Guardian puts it , ‘ encompassing the mushy middle and the soft left as well as the right, who tonight supported a vote of no confidence’ in Corbyn’s genuine alternative.  

Of course the Parliamentarian Labour rebellion is about how they will fare in newly imminent general elections, but much more is at stake than the result of elections, as Podemos has to ponder today. What is at stake is the challenge to reinvent democracy for our times, transform political parties so that they empower new democratic practises especially in the younger generations, and set about rescuing genuine democracy at the national and European level.

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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