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More from the Journey...

Andrew Sparrow is posting more extracts from The Journey on the Guardian blog as he unearths them. There are some quite extraordinary passages.
Guy Aitchison
1 September 2010

Andrew Sparrow is posting more extracts from The Journey on the Guardian blog as he unearths them.  

There are some quite extraordinary passages.

On the much maligned but misunderstood figure of Dick Cheney, Blair writes:

He believed, in essence, that the US was genuinely at war; that the war was one with terrorists and rogue states that supported them; that it stemmed from a guiding ideology that was a direct threat to America; and that therefore the only way of defeating it was head-on, with maximum American strength, with the object of destroying the ideology and allowing democracy to flourish in its stead. He would have worked through the whole lot, Iraq, Syria, Iran, dealing with all the surrogates in the course of it – Hezbollah, Hamas etc ... Of course, this attitude terrified and repelled people. But, as will be obvious from what I have written, I do not think it was as fantastical as conventional wisdom opined.

On the second true love of his life:

I was asked recently which of the political leaders I had met had most integrity: I listed George near the top. In what was a fairly liberal audience, some people were aghast. Others tittered, thinking I was joking. But I meant it. He had genuine integrity, and as much political courage as any leader I ever met ..He was, in a bizarre sense (bizarre because it appears counterintuitive), a true idealist.

On the villainous Freedom of Information act:

Freedom of Information. Three harmless words. I look at those words as I write them an, and feel like shaking my head till it drops off my shoulders. You idiot. You naive, foolish, irresponsible, nincompoop. There is really no description of stupidity, no matter how vivid, that is adequate. I quake at the imbecility of it.

On his endorsement of Tory *ahem* Alisdair Darling’s plans for deficit reduction:

What should we have done? As I suggested in my analysis of the economy earlier, in my view we should have taken a New Labour way out of the economic crisis: kept direct tax rates competitive, had a gradual rise in VAT and other indirect taxes to close the deficit, and used the crisis to push further and faster on reform.

I think Polly Toynbee has the best reaction I've read so far, whilst Michael White, it seems, still revels in his chosen role as establishment mouthpiece and defender of the political class against the ignorant masses, telling readers that "raging against the former PM may say more about you than him." 

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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