openDemocracyUK

An Englishman, a Scotswoman and Irishman talk about Brexit

Fintan O'Toole, Lesley Riddoch and Anthony Barnett grapple with the 'Strange passions of Brexit'.

Anthony Barnett
Anthony Barnett
15 January 2019

Many outside the UK are baffled by what is going on with Brexit and the cultural implosion that seems to be taking place. This short discussion may help. It is not about policy - instead it addresses the strucure of feeling in England. On Friday 11 January, an emergency Convention on a People's Vote over Brexit and how to 'Think Anew, Act Anew' was held in London, convened in just over a week by Henry Porter. It was opened by Caroline Lucas, whose powerful message set the direction of the day. A sequence of panels of often young speakers set a new spirit for popular opposition to Brexit. Videos of all the sessions can be watched here. I was fortunate enough to be on a panel with Fintan O'Toole, author of Heroic Failure, chaired and moderated by Lesley Riddoch, author of Blossom, what Scotland needs to flourish. She got us to tackle some of the issues closest to the bone, not least the nature of the English support for the Brexit vote and its relationship with Britishness and Europe. 

 

 

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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