OurKingdom is dead. Long live openDemocracyUK!

We've changed our name.

13 October 2015

“It is a fucking Kingdom and it should be ours”.

That's how Anthony Barnett, founder of both OurKingdom and openDemocracy, explained the name. We sometimes considered making that our strap-line.

But without such an explanation, and unless people know Anthony and his sense of humour, there was often confusion around the name. And so we decided to change it.

We considered various options. We asked our readers for suggestions a while back. We kicked "Archipelago” or "OurIslands" about for a while, before chucking them off the pitch. We talked about openDemocracyBritain. But “Britain” feels more loaded than “UK” for some reason.

We had reservations about “openDemocracyUK” too. Anthony reported that the late, great Raymond Williams once said “what kind of country calls itself uck?”. But perhaps that lack of pomp appealed a little.

So, welcome to our little corner of the internet, now with a new signpost over the door: openDemocracyUK. Have a look around. Pour yourself a large drink. Put your feet up, get stuck into the conversation and, when you have to go, make sure you remember to come back often.

And please donate to openDemocracyUK to help keep us producing independent journalism. Thank you.

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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