We are entering winter waters and an iceberg called the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) and its twin CETA (Comprehensive Economic & Trade Agreement) are looming towards us.
It doesn’t look to be too much on the surface, just another fundamentally boring piece of EU trade legislation… and that’s just what its backers want you to think, if indeed you’re aware of its existence at all which has been woefully under-reported by the corporate mainstream media.
However, under the surface hidden by the seemingly benign intention to smooth trade and foster investment between the EU and North America lie implications that could jeopardise the sovereignty of our governments, the notion of human rights and indeed democracy itself.
It is a staple of dystopian fiction that in the near future, human society will be dominated not by countries or religions but by multinational corporations, that the rule of cash and the muscle it can buy will rule over all other considerations with people reduced to commodities being bought & sold, exploited and discarded according to their ability to generate profit.
In the minds of the most cunning dystopian writer imagining a future of such inequality there could be no better catalyst for such a paradigm shift in how our world works than TTIP.
If passed completely, TTIP will legislate a leveling of standards across the EU & USA by reducing those standards to the lowest level meaning that American food production, health & safety, working time regulations etc. all of which are considerably less stringent than those commonly seen in Europe.
Furthermore, American or Canadian companies who believe their profits have been jeopardized by government legislation will be able to sue the government in question in a specially convened Investor-State-Dispute-Settlement (ISDS) which is basically a obscure way of saying a corporate kangaroo court, operating outside the jurisdiction of that nation’s laws.
In effect, our governments (and by extension, we) will no longer be able to set the standards by which businesses are held to account in our countries.
Worker’s rights, environmental standards, the ability to nationalize or stave off pravitsisation of public services our ability to block dangerous and unethical practices would all become subject to the rule of profit, rather than the rule of law or democratic oversight.
You’d think that this kind of threat to UK sovereignty is exactly the kind of thing that the likes of UKIP would be against, but as they are a bunch of neoliberal ideologues and thus only against the EU when it IMPOSES profit-damaging regulations in the name of the environment, safety or human rights, they are quite happy to let this go.
Indeed, should they ever gain power and secede Britain from the EU, they’d almost certainly sign off on a similar shadowy deal in an instant. It’s good for business, what?
So, if you care about the NHS, about stopping fracking, about worker’s rights or even just your vote meaning a damn at election time, raise your voice against TTIP. Below are several links to various sites campaigning against TTIP, all with further links to sign the European Citizen’s Initiative petition that is the strongest voice against the agreements.
I’d also urge that you join one of the political parties who have come out against TTIP and in the UK this means either the Green Party of England & Wales, Scottish Greens or Plaid Cymru as despite their supposedly progressive stance the Scottish National Party have unfortunately backed TTIP on the proviso that the NHS in Scotland is protected which is simply not enough protection for our democracy or ability to regulate business.
It’s also implicit in the way that TTIP and CETA have been negotiated – behind closed doors, with a complete package submitted to governments to say yes or no to – that opting out of one element or ring fencing one industry or public service is not going to be an option.
As Another Angry Voice has it, TTIP and CETA are the biggest threat to UK sovereignty at this time – not immigration, ISIS or anything like that, but a shadowy deal conducted in the back corridors of the EU and capitals across Europe and North America.
It must be resisted by everyone who cares about democracy.