Now we're into Advent the end of a very long term is in sight for the Parliamentary Interns - im having difficulty getting used to not having 8 week terms as at Oxford - all my friends still back there finished a week ago, and we've all still got 2 weeks to go...!
The pace in parliament hasnt slowed at all - all of us have been kept very busy with various duties - im working hard on a project on the NHS "Spine" for Damian - a database that holds all NHS patient's medical records in England. This project, which is in the process of being implemented, has understandably raised quite a few concerns amongst many people in the light of the HMRC "Datagate" scandal of a few weeks ago. Many are concerned that no matter how strict the security of such IT systems, the risk to people's personal data whilst stored on a national database will never be completely diminished - all it could take is a simple human error and your entire medical history could be exposed to hackers. Or, as in the case of one campaigner, such an error could actually incorrectly label you as having a medical problem you have never suffered from - eg schizophrenia or alcoholism. I often find with these research projects Im undertaking that, the more i read, the more I realise quite how in the dark the population really is about what the state is doing - potentially very concerning!
All the interns and a contingent from Newman House attended the funeral of Tim Berner, Dom's dad, on Thursday down in Wimbledon. It was amazing to see a church so full of people from so many different aspects of Tim and his family's life. We were all glad to be there to support Dom, and despite the great sadness everyone felt for the family's loss, I felt an immense power from the service and the community that was gathered there, despite the torrential rain outside. It's times like these that the support of friends and family really are seen to be an amazing and divine gift.
The Newman House Christmas party was very well attended last Friday evening. Sadly I was not able to make it, as I was at a ball in Bayswater, but from what I heard it was a spectacular event, all the more important given that many house residents will soon be heading off for the Christmas vacation.
I know for a fact that us interns are eagerly awaiting the end of our term - an amazing term in so many ways - but very challenging in other respects. Here's to the last few weeks- will post another update before too long!