See you in 2012!

OurKingdom takes a break.
Anthony Barnett
Anthony Barnett
21 December 2011

Strange times need a rest and clear minds. I have just returned from a visit to India, and it feels as if I left a multi-cultural Britain, even if it had its strains, to return to a Christian England preparing for war on France! What better than to declare that a good break is needed, perhaps to the New Year unless another extraordinary crisis demands that we open up OK to comments and critique.

2012 will be a year of change for us in openDemocracy - both the mother ship and here in the British section. Also for the UK we can be sure, including our  Occupy movement and doubtless even the Labour leadership which currently seems to be leaving all the opposition to civic forces like UKuncut and False Economy and 38 Degrees not to speak of the Scotland’s SNP - although there is still life in the centre-left from newly thoughtful Resolution Foundation, on the appalling non-distribution of wealth, and ippr with whom we cooperate informally, and whose Director Nick Pearce sets out some impressive Xmas reading and gives OK a nice mention. 

In the new year, OurKingdom will be announcing our new direction with a new ‘About’ section, we will be working on the debate over the ‘Long Revolution’, supporting the CCMR on reforming our media, mashing our Networked Society with coverage of the Occupy movements, continuing For England’s Sake! and participating in Can Europe Make It? And we are looking forward to publishing our own plans for how to deal with the deficit.

Have a good Xmas break whatever your beliefs and we look forward to welcoming in the New Year with your participation and critical, thoughtful and active support.

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.

Who is bankrolling Britain's democracy? Which groups shape the stories we see in the press; which voices are silenced, and why? Sign up here to find out.


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