Clegg on the attack

Stuart Weir
6 January 2010

I don't know if I am being fair to Nick Clegg, but I read a short piece in the Guardian today on his condemnation of Labour and the Conservatives as 'corrupt'. Quite right too, their resolve to protect their parties at all costs, and to maintain the duopoly in the House of Conmons is corrupt. But surely Clegg should be sticking up for electoral reform - let's say proportional representation - for very important reasons other than that it is 'fair', presumably as between political parties. The single most important quality of PR is that it delivers representative assemblies; and in the case of the UK, one consequence of this ought to be that it would break the two main parties' domination not only of general elections but of Parliament between them.

Meanwhile I see that Patricia Hewitt and Geoff Hoon are ringing round Labour MPs urging them to back a poll on Brown's performance as leader. I don't know about you, but I couldn't think of a more unwelcome person to be soliciting my support than either of these two former cabinet ministers unless Charles Clarke decided to join in.

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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