About

“I dream of wayward gulls and all landless lovers, rare moments of winter sun, peace, privacy, for everyone.” [William F. Claire]

My former manager once told me she thought of me as Jiminy Cricket, the conscience of our tech and business change project.

Interested in public engagement & ethics; in data sharing, digital services, and research. I like to travel light. Books not TV. Brunch is my favourite meal. I’m always learning something new. 

I believe in using better data for a better society. As part of that, data privacy and data security are key. Privacy, a fundamental human right is recognized in the UN Declaration of Human Rights  and the UK Human Rights Act 1998, and is key in the campaign calling for better pupil data with the DfE that I coordinate – defenddigitalme. Our site is over here, to which I also contribute blogposts.

I believe access to education and healthcare are key to our happiness, productivity, wealth and well being. I’m passionate about understanding people, and the potential of using technology in a sustainable future that our children will inherit.

I’ve always enjoyed making systems work for people, helping people avoid  working more for the system.  I was privileged to travel extensively in Eastern Europe, some in Asia and the US.

As a teen I considered becoming a creative designer or a forensic scientist. Aged six I wrote a chalk letter to the Queen which I posted secretly, stampless, asking her for world peace. In between then and now I didn’t do much about it. Now I better appreciate that if we want to see change, we need to make it happen.

As a writer and member of  English PEN, I’ve been interested on and off in the areas of privacy and freedom of speech for some time.

As a trained linguist and writer, I love language and its changing usage. I write fiction as well as other things about subjects I care about.

Until recently, I was an  interviewer for the literary magazine The View From Here for seven years before it closed its doors in October 2014. (Personal favourites here with Barry Cunningham or Isabel Allende.) I was known as The Amateur Book Blogger, hence my twitter handle TheABB.

Since 2014 my writing has been mainly about government plans to use health data, and data from other areas, for secondary uses. I’ve listened to lots of voices at many public events, shared and encouraged others’ engagement, and have joined the ADRN panel supporting use of administrative data in research.

My other posts may be about anything that grabs my attention. Writing related things. Sometimes art, clouds or bees.  I love volcanoes, and deserts; thinking about economics and politics.  This is my scrapbook and used to capture unpolished beginnings and thoughts.

My blog title & header are inspired by L. Susan Stebbing. I’m inspired by others’ thoughts, random acts of kindness,  learning, and the sea.

Mostly constructive. Sometimes cross. Occasionally on target. “Thank you for your consideration.”

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My favourite mug is shown in my header & twitter account: L. Susan Stebbing’s cover from her book, Thinking to some Purpose.

“This metaphor seems to me to be appropriate, because potted thinking is easily accepted, is concentrated in form, and has lost the vitamins essential to mental nourishment. […]  the critical questioning at times of our potted beliefs is necessary for the development of our capacity to think to some purpose.”

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Thinking to some purpose