Take a long hard look at Labour

Unable to offer voters any positive reason to vote for the government beyond the worthless platitudes in Brown's speech, Labour now hope to scare us into returning them to power by urging us to "Take a long hard look at the Tories".
Guy Aitchison
27 February 2010

Alongside last week's vacuous promise of a "Future fair for all", the Labour party has launched a new campaign slogan for the election. Unable to offer voters any positive reasons to vote for the government beyond the worthless platitudes in Brown's speech, they now hope to scare us into returning them to power by urging us to "Take a long hard look at the Tories".

Their new campaign site offers six reasons why we should stick to nurse, one of which is the "Tories on DNA". It quotes Chris Sims,  ACPO lead on forensic science and West Midlands Chief Constable, who is "absolutely certain" there are cases where removing "un-convicted people" from the DNA database would have meant there would be "quiet serious crimes that weren't saved by police and offenders who could still be out there committing further serious offences."

That the Labour party should so loudly trumpet its contempt for personal privacy and the presumption of innocence, parading its violation of the European Court on Human Rights ruling on DNA retention as one of the top six reasons to vote for it, tells you everything you need to know about its attitude to civil liberties and the rule of law. If the Tories were in power, we are told, nasty horrible "un-convicted" people would be running around everywhere committing crimes. 

Un-convicted. Un-con-vic-ted. Didn't we use to have another word for that at one time before we became suspects to be tagged, tracked and monitored? And did it not underpin some legal principle of one kind or another generally thought essential to a free society? Clearly I'm getting muddled up. Un-convicted people are just people who haven't been convicted. Yet. They will be. Just so long as the Tories aren't there to give them back their DNA.



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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