A newsletter from SA Mathieson, analyst, journalist and editor.

Why tech firms fear Brexit: immigration. Lack of it

Speaking to tech bosses for The Register about the EU referendum was a bit like being at some kind of reverse Ukip conference. Everyone wanted to talk about immigration, the difference being that everyone was strongly in support of it.

Even Fairsail chief executive Adam Hale, the one interviewee who plans to vote for Brexit, is concerned about insufficient immigration. But as I noted in this blog post, Register commenters were much less pro-EU than the bosses I spoke to.

There is a difficulty in writing about the EU referendum, which is that (except for politicians) the people journalists generally talk to are more likely to be voting to Remain than the average, such as senior managers and academics.

A look at the map published by YouGov (published here with commentary by the Economic's Bagehot) shows this: in England at least the areas keen to remain are the centres of business and universities, while Cumbria, Lincolnshire, Peterborough, Somerset, Staffordshire and Suffolk favour Brexit; places that are under-reported.

I work hard to cover things going on across the country (such as Coventry), but looking at my map of articles I can only see one piece about those half-dozen areas, and that was about the failing Mid Staffordshire NHS foundation trust. I wonder if the non-politicians supporting Brexit will have their voices fully heard in advance of the referendum itself.

I wrote

The libraries that offer sexual health services and cancer support
For Guardian Healthcare Professionals Network, on how Coventry City Council's libraries are working with the local NHS and Macmillan to provide health advice in an imaginative way that reaches people the NHS might miss. Visiting Coventry's Central Library to hear about this and see what they do was a pleasure - not least because I got one of the keyrings mentioned at the start of the article.

Tech biz bosses tell El Reg a Brexit will lead to a UK Techxit
As discussed above for The Register.

Investigatory Powers Bill: Spooks willingly entering the light?
Based partly on January's Scrambling for Safety conference, I took a high-level view of the bill for The Register. Whatever ends up in and out of the act, it will represent a further step out of the shadows for communications surveillance.
Interactive article map
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I read

Britain to pay billions for monster internet surveillance network, Duncan Campbell, Denmark abandoned a £104m system to gather internet connection records, suggesting a similar system here under the investigatory powers bill would cost more than £1bn.

CW@50: 1966 - Computer Weekly goes to bat for the British computer industry, Brian McKenna, "In the manner of writers from the first half of the 20th century, such as TS Eliot or HG Wells, Computer Weekly’s staff went, rather formally, by the initials of their first two names plus surname." A tradition I am delighted to uphold.

We need to get this investigatory powers bill right – it’s not fit for purpose now, Keir Starmer, The Guardian. Confirms what I heard him say at Scrambling for Safety and reported in this piece.

Map of the month: from Oxon to Coxit

This month's map - which is much better viewed in its interactive form - shows controversial plans to break up Oxfordshire into unitary councils. The odd part of it is shown in the green and blue sections of the map: West Oxfordshire District Council wants to form a unitary with Cotswold District Council in Gloucestershire, an idea known as 'Coxit' in Gloucestershire, and Cherwell District Council wants to join up with South Northamptonshire District Council.

I produced this map with the Leaflet Javascript library, Mapbox’s High Contrast base-map and boundary data from Ordnance Survey, converted to GeoJSON by Martin Chorley. If you are interested in me producing something similar for your organisation, please get in touch.
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