Two documentaries to watch tonight

Guy Aitchison
22 March 2010

Just a quick post to alert you to two must-see political documentaries on TV tonight. The first, presented by historian Anthony Seldon, explores the depths of public disengagement with the political process and examines how citizens are organising to demand reform. It features a spot on the Power2010 campaign, and its organisers in Brighton and London, among other citizen-led initiatives. The second is the Dispatches documentary, heavily-trailled in the weekend's papers, by journalist Antony Barnett (not to be confused with OK's co-editor of the same name who has an 'h'). The undercover investigation will reveal the ease with which corporate lobbyists can buy influence off ministers. It promises to lay bare just how endemic the corruption is at the heart of the British system for anyone who thought MPs' expenses was just a blip. Geoff Hoon, Stephen Byers, Patricia Hewitt, Baroness Sally Morgan, Margaret Moran and Sir John Butterfill all feature. 

So that's: 

Trust Politics, 7pm BBC2 

Dispatches: Politicians for Hire, 8pm Channel 4

OK readers should feel free to use this comment thread to discuss the issues raised by the two documentaries. 

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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