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Welcoming Adam Ramsay to OurKingdom

OurKingdom welcomes a new Co-Editor.

Oliver Huitson
26 July 2013

OurKingdom’s editorial structure has undergone some changes this last few months and we have settled now on what we hope will be the core team to take us through the Scottish referendum and the European elections in 2014, to at least the 2015 general election. Who’s left, who’s arrived and where are we heading?

Earlier this year Niki Seth-Smith stepped down as Co-Editor after a highly successful two-year spell in which OurKingdom developed quite dramatically. Under the triple impact of: 1) the failure of Gordon Brown’s government to introduce the democratic reforms he initially promised, and the need to oppose the undemocratic ones he then sought to impose (such as 42 Days detention and ID cards which we did with the Convention on Modern Liberty); 2) the arrival of the Coalition driving forward marketization and austerity in the face of the market crash; and 3) the rise of the new forms of militant opposition led by a new generation; OurKingdom became more far-reaching culturally, more ambitious intellectually and more critical politically. Niki was a moving spirit and force in this transformation. We are very grateful to her. She is stepping down in order to focus on her own writing. Plenty of this, we hope, will be published here, and we will endeavour to keep Niki’s input and experience as part of OurKingdom’s editorial network.

Anthony Barnett, who started OurKingdom in 2007 at the suggestion of oD’s then Editor-in-Chief Tony Curzon Price, has also resigned as a Co-Editor. He will no longer play an executive role but will remain as a contributing-editor and, we hope, an inventive voice in our editorial network, writing more and continuing to poke, prod and goad the British state with pen in hand.

To make up for these losses, I am delighted to announce that Adam Ramsay will become a new Co-Editor of OurKingdom joining me and Clare Sambrook, who is a part-time Co-Editor based in Cumbria. (If you haven’t read this latest by Clare already, I recommend you do – the second most-read oD piece of 2013. A shocking story and a superb piece of journalism). At the same time, Caroline Molloy has joined us as the Editor of OurNHS.

Adam’s first article for us was an account of his being arrested at the UKUncut Fortnum & Mason’s occupation. His most recent is a reflection on Westminster’s casually ignorant treatment of his native Scotland in the Falkirk West affair. He writes well on a wide range of topics, has editorial experience from Bright Green, has experience of organising, fundraising and political strategy from People & Planet and it is great to have him aboard.

It was a long selection process with some exceptionally strong applications, for which we’d like to reiterate our thanks.

OurKingdom is still vulnerable financially but we feel it has never been more needed editorially and we look forward to reporting in the Autumn on how we plan to develop our coverage and build our network.

If you have any suggestions, proposals, criticisms of what we are doing or ideas about how you can help, please let me know. We have a lot of ground to cover: recent growth figures that say more about the Coalition’s desperate efforts to reflate the credit and housing bubbles than they do about the UK’s underlying health, which remains extremely dire; the continuing fallout of PRISM and Tempora combined with the UK’s increasing moves towards ‘secret justice’; a full blown housing crisis which the government is now exacerbating rather than addressing; the dismantling of the NHS; the unpicking of the welfare state and the Coalition’s neo-Victorian crusade against the poor; the rise of English nationalism and its various manifestations; unprecedented demographic change; an EU referendum on the horizon; a flailing opposition; a dysfunctional electoral system; a corrupt revolving door between the state and corporate power; an over-mighty media and complacent BBC; all set against an international backdrop of extraordinary unrest, energy and discontent.

We hope to be kept busy.

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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