openDemocracyUK

Lure of Greatness, the video

Caroline Lucas MP, Zadie Smith, John Cleese, Kate Raworth, Aditya Chakrabortty, Peter Oborne, Quentin Skinner, Niki Seth Smith and Ralph Pritchard enjoy Anthony Barnett's new book.

Mary Fitzgerald headshot in circle, small
Mary Fitzgerald
27 September 2017

In early August, before it was officially published, The New Statesman published a striking review of Anthony Barnett’s The Lure of Greatness by John Harris, welcoming it as a ‘punk polemic’. Harris has distinguished himself with his outstanding video reports, Anywhere but Westminster. Taking a real interest in what goes on outside the bubble he engaged with Barnett’s argument - that the frustration of English democracy and voice and its capture by ‘Great Britishness’ was a determining factor in Brexit.

After that, there was no response at all in the main London newspapers to Barnett’s call to understand the reasons for Brexit and Trump.  With the exception of Suzanne Moore in her G2 column, there seems to be a reluctance to confront his case that there are profound democratic causes which have enflamed millions. So we decided to make a video for social media to let readers know that the book existed. Here it is. It went viral on Facebook where it is approaching 140,000 views. Please share it and read the book, it is very stimulating.

Just as the video was finished Fintan O’Toole wrote a blistering review in The Irish Times that recognises the link between ‘the best book on Brexit so far’ and openDemocracy ‘flying the flag for transparency, reform and genuine popular power’.

Please join Caroline Lucas MP, Clive Lewis MP, Suzanne Moore with Anthony Barnett, moderated by John Harris in‘Confronting Brexit and Trump’ at London's Emmanuel Centre, 31 Oct 2017 7.30 to 9.15. Tickets here.

Updated 27 September 2017

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.


By adding my name to this campaign, I authorise openDemocracy and Foxglove to keep me updated about their important work.

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