Election mood - you can't polish a turd

The UK election has a bad ordure. It may be the smell of a rotting system but could it also mean it is so far gone it can't come back to life?
Anthony Barnett
Anthony Barnett
12 April 2010

The UK election has a bad ordure. It may be the smell of a rotting system but could it mean it is so far gone it can't come back to life? There is a tremendous sense of dissatisfaction among the public. If a change of regime is on the way Cameron won't arrive with a Blairite sense of a "new dawn". That's how it feels - and that's why I'm working on spreading the idea of 'Hanging' the two main parties. More on this soon. As if to confirm the sense of the undead hanging over us Paul Waugh of the London Evening Standard reported that Brown in the course of a photo-shoot had walked under a sign saying "You can't polish a turd". Apparently the smaller sign nearby added, "...but you can roll it in glitter". It would have been just as appropriate had David Cameron had been there. All of which creates a wonderful opportunity for Nick Clegg, who alas told the Observer that he is "not campaigning for a hung parliament". However, he'd be happy if there was one. Let's see if we can oblige.

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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