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Martin Paul Eve

Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing at Birkbeck, University of London

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Seriously, just what in God's name do you think you are doing? I am referring, in this bombastic introduction, to the Department of Health's decision to continue to defy the democratic right of the population to see the transition risk register for the proposed NHS shakeup.

Let me tell you a few truths about democracy and a few points about risk assessments.

Risk assessments are designed to evaluate the likelihood that people will suffer as a consequence of an action. They do so in as objective and intersubjective a fashion as is possible. Most importantly: when this data has been collected, the idea is to decide whether the action merits the risk. We know that, ideologically, you believe the NHS shakeup to be right. Statements by Mr. Cameron to the Conservative Party conference have made clear that he believes this to be an unpopular tough decision. What I cannot understand, though, is why the risk register, if it is what Mr. Cameron has based his beliefs upon, cannot be seen by the general public.

In fact, I can only conclude that it does not justify his beliefs and that there is not a jot of evidence to suggest that the shakeups will be of benefit to those requiring medical treatment. To the contrary, the reticence to disclose this document suggests that the logical reasoning would be to abandon the bill as it will cause harm; to change the course of action. Those "beliefs" are merely theological convictions without some form of thinking that leads to action.

It is our democratic right to evaluate and select our leaders upon the correctness of their actions. By not disclosing the evidence supporting your actions, we cannot judge whether the action was logical. It is an outrage that you would put your beliefs ahead of transparency and ahead of democracy.

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