MP Daniel Zeichner (Labour) has set up a data analytics all party parliamentary group. The membership of the group includes Labour and Conservatives, a token Lib-Dem and an ex-hereditary cross bencher lord. The SNP, a far more important player in this parliament than the Lib Dems, is not represented.
On the other side of the political mainstream, David Willetts as a Universities and Science coalition minister a few years ago identified Big Data as one of the 8 great technologies that could guarantee of future growth of the British economy along with space, robotics and autonomous systems, synthetic biology, regenerative medicine, agri-science, advanced materials and energy. Space was probably closer to his heart, and he retired to a position on the board of satellite maker SSTL.
Of course data analytics have been at the heart of British political debate for a while now: the fixation with quantifying performance and ranking schools and hospitals has been central to any discussion on education and the NHS, the central issues for the Blair and Cameron governments correspondingly. The Blair government has been pivotal with its ideas about evidence based policy for our supposedly post-ideological times.
We’ve already seen the increasing importance of data in local government which is tied to the emergence of ‘Smart Cities’, while mobile telecoms mined data is used for things like transport planning. For that most political of issues, data protection, the increasing contradictions between the incoming EU GDPR and the UK’s snooper charter might be partially resolved by Brexit, though the UK in its typical way might be quite relaxed about following EU regulations while still obliged to do so, and the media will play its part in making snooping palatable to the voters.