Blair was recently “grilled” by the Public Accounts Committee.
The BBC reports,
He supported electronic patient records, saying rather than being “a Big Brother thing”, they could save lives – particularly when people were taken ill in another part of the country, away from their GPs, by allowing instant access to their records.
He said, provided there were safeguards, it would be “bizarre” if technology was being used to make things easier in every other walk of life except for public services.
He included identity cards in that argument, saying they would hold the same information that passports currently do, and less than storecards do.
Of course, the customer has a choice as to whether or not he has a storecard and, as far as I know, Tesco doesn’t yet record my medical history along with my favourite foods.
He also highlighted the fact that things like Google Earth allowed people to zoom into pictures of people’s property.
I don’t keep my medical record in my garden.
Do his arguments smack of desperation or idiocy?
Or control freakery?
Doc Crippen puts the point eloquently and forcefully:
The Stalinist control freaks will say “ah, but it is in your interests to have your records on a central computer.” I am sick and tired of this government trampling all over my private life and telling me what is in my “best interests”. I can decide that for myself, thank you.
Let us have a voluntary system.
Labour Party sources said speakers at a meeting to debate the plans had been “60/40″ in favour of Mr Straw’s ideas.
But some Labour MPs were also reported to be planning to revive a campaign for a mainly elected second chamber.
Mr Straw, who favours a 50/50 split between elected and appointed peers, will set out his proposals in a White Paper to be published on Wednesday.
Under the current plan, MPs will vote first – in the Commons chamber – on whether they want any kind of upper house at all and then whether the current House of Lords should be reformed.
MPs will then, in an unusual move, vote on seven options for reform: all elected; 80% elected, 20% appointed; 60% elected, 40% appointed; half and half; 40% elected, 60% appointed; 20% elected, 80% appointed; and all appointed.
Instead of voting in the division lobbies, MPs will indicate their preferences in order on a ballot paper.
Under this alternative vote system, the least popular option will be knocked out and its second preferences redistributed until one option achieves a majority. …
As I understand it, they will first have to vote on whether or not to use the alternative vote system described above, so it could end before it begins.
In January, in response to a British Social Attitudes to Liberty survey, I asked,
I wonder whether attitudes to civil liberties are different in people who have lived in countries that are much more draconian than ours.
Well, this is by no means a statistically sound data set, but John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, recently criticised the Government’s plans to again attempt to extend the period we can be detained without charge, saying the UK was getting close to becoming a police state.
And he should know, as at one point he lived in Uganda while Idi Amin was in charge.