Forget a referendum on Europe, there’s no way we’ll be allowed to leave the Union – but it will come at a perfect time for trans-national companies (TNCs) and US and EU governments who will likely be finalising the terms of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) under the radar and without any opportunity for our democratic input while we’re all distracted by the media attention on whether we should be in or out of Europe.
The basic premise for TTIP (an ironic acronym as the ‘tip’ is the best place for this trade agreement) is to allow the US and the EU to trade more freely without any of the current restrictions largely in place to protect us – think food standards, financial regulation (don’t laugh), and even democracy itself (according to journalist and campaigner George Monbiot).
Under the TTIP, the NHS will be privatised, there will be huge increases in GM food products from the US, and a relaxing of the stricter EU regulations on food standards such as the use of additives and pesticides.
Just as worryingly, there is scope under the agreement for private companies to sue the government if they believe they’ve been unfairly treated – for example if the UK government tries to return to the public the parts of the NHS that are already run by private companies. This would mean TNCs having far more opportunity to affect government policies.
David Cameron – you know, that one that for some unknown reason was elected into power earlier this year – has said the NHS is not under threat from TTIP yet he’s not removed it from the trade deal. Economists have rejected claims from supporters of TTIP that it will benefit both US and EU working families.
Only last month the EU failed to ban 31 pesticides linked to cancer and male infertility following pressure from the US relating to the TTIP agreement.
There is pretty much nothing good about TTIP unless you are incredibly wealthy and you’re looking to get even richer while making more people suffer.
To find out more about the agreement and how you can get involved to support the opposition to this assault on our society then check out the following websites:
War on Want have a booklet you can download here
Online campaigning group 38 Degrees have a petition you can sign here
The Guardian newspaper have a dedicated section on TTIP here