openDemocracyUK welcomes Laurie Macfarlane

openDemocracyUK's new economics editor starts next week.

Adam Ramsay
Adam Ramsay
25 May 2017
Laurie photo 3.jpg

Laurie Macfarlane

Next week, Laurie Macfarlane will start in the new role of openDemocracyUK economics editor. Laurie currently works as senior economist at the New Economics Foundation, and is co-author of the recent and critically acclaimed book ‘Rethinking the economics of land and housing’, described by the Financial Times as “a lucid exposition of the dysfunctional British housing market”.

Laurie has previously worked as an economist with various UK and Scottish government agencies, and with the Scottish think tank Common Weal. He has appeared as an economic analyst on a number of major broadcasters and written for publications including The Guardian, and openDemocracy.

Laurie’s arrival marks an expansion of openDemocracyUK in recent months. He will lead on our ongoing economics coverage, where we are working to get to grips with the long running economic crisis unfolding in Britain and to bring people together to figure out an economic programme for the 21st century. He will also work on the Civil Society Futures project which we are delighted to be playing a key role in, exploring how civil society in England can flourish in a fast changing world, and will be working across oD-UK as we continue to try to get to understand the unfolding crisis in Britain's democracy, its root causes and the injustices which stem from it.

We are excited to have Laurie joining our expanding team.

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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