A Referendum on Independence for Scotland

Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland, introduces a referendum bill on the future of Scotland.
Mike Small
26 February 2010

Plans to give the people of Scotland their say on the nation’s future – including enhanced devolution and extending the powers of the Parliament to enable independence to be achieved – were unveiled today with the publication of a draft Referendum Bill.

First Minister Alex Salmond published the draft Bill which would give people the opportunity to have their say on two questions:

* first, whether the Scottish Parliament should have more devolved responsibility
* second, whether there should be an additional extension of power to enable Scotland to become an independent country

A consultation paper, published with the draft Bill, seeks views on the best option for the question on further devolution: full devolution including fiscal autonomy (known as ‘Devo Max’) or the more limited proposals made by the Commission on Scottish Devolution (the ‘Calman Commission’). Will the Unionist parties ‘Kill Bill’? By including the Calman options Salmond has again changed the ground from underneath them, and his reference to ‘circumstances after the next election’ is an un-subtle reference to the incoming Tory regime as England slides towards Aristocracy.

Cross-posted from Bella Caledonia.

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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