TTIP Stands For Corporations Not People

TTIP could be the corporate Trojan horse of the 21st century, giving more rights to self-interested international corporations, and less to those in favour of a future Britain that isn’t shit and reliant on mindless consumerism. So you should be taking notes.

Opinions on TTIP (short for ‘Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership’) are scattered, some say it will make billions for the country’s economy, others say it is a sly deal that will hand over huge amounts of power to the corporate and the wealthy. More however, say “what the fuck’s TTIP when it’s at home?”

It’s fair to say there’s been a hefty amount of obfuscation in the TTIP deal, but, then again, hiding behind meaningless acronyms and long-winded sentences has previously worked when passing unpopular legislation, so why stop now? To try to put it as simply as possible; if the TTIP deal goes through, it will allow for international trade regulations to be downtrodden in favour of a global, free market economy. This sort of sounds like the way the world is heading anyway, but, you should also know that the majority of people involved in creating this trade agreement are the corporations themselves and their sharky lobbyists. This can only be bad news for those unwilling to live in a corporately governed world.

One failsafe example of where the British people will get fucked first is in the ass of the NHS. What TTIP will do is open up the NHS to competition, meaning that international health and pharmaceutical corporations will begin to build their businesses here, selling services that match, or better, our current ones.

Great, you say, but that’s before looking a little closer and seeing what this will mean for the authority of the NHS and free national health countrywide. Not only will these international companies be charging for their services – not a problem for the wealthy but an obvious problem for the poor – but they’ll also ensure that the NHS is left weakened, if not already weak enough from the £22 billion in cuts (or "efficiency savings") they are currently having to make under our current government’s ingenious austerity plan and the impossible 7-day services they are being forced to provide.

And, once this becomes a reality, the NHS will inevitably be underperforming – because of cuts, service strains, low wages and skilled doctors and nurses jumping ship – and any authority it once had over the future of UK health (its plans to push for sugar and alcohol regulations; things which aim to actually help the country) will be lost. After all, thanks to the insidious ISDS (Investor-State Dispute Settlement) clause, the international corporations (in the health sector and outside) have the freedom to sue the UK government when it infringes on their profits. How dare UK law be for UK citizens rather than us, the foreign corporations intent on milking UK citizens dry? How dare it try and govern itself!

Luckily then, for them, not us, quite obviously, the ISDS would rid UK law of its autonomy from corporations (admittedly it didn’t have much anyway, much of what is left is already rotting away in a HSBC vault somewhere), due to the threat of being sued if the government doesn’t work in the corporations’ best interests.

Consider this. Say there becomes a market for US and Canadian oil and shale gas here in the UK when TTIP becomes a reality (there will be). Say then, a few years down the line, the government finally concedes that climate change is as big of a threat as the scientists are telling them, and decides to make one final push for renewable energy before the earth becomes a fiery ball of Tsunamis and misery… what then? Well, the foreign oil and gas corporations sure to be making a mint from the UK under previous lax laws will sue the UK government – and they’ll sue it hard. Oh and the good-old UK taxpayers will get the legal bill.

You might think this mad; and it is, it’s fucking mad, but it will inevitably happen, and is already happening in many other parts of the world (see below image), across many sectors. As soon as the UK government has a flash of conscience and tries to change regulation (on alcohol, children’s junk food, fossil fuels, cigarettes, harmful chemicals, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, you name it) there will be a small corporate whisper in their ear saying “don’t, or we’ll sue for billions”. And if you think that won’t change the shape of the UK’s future, then you’re sorely mistaken.
[Source: New Scientist]

For me, the problem isn’t with the promotion of global trade and the TTIP deal itself (as long as I never have to see a Twinkie on the shelves at the Co-op), the problem I have is with the ISDS and the huge amount of power that it gives profiteering businesses to fuck the UK over unless the government consistently considers corporations before people.

Isn’t it amazing that we have more concern over letting a few hundred helpless, moneyless refugees into the UK than we have of letting an infinite amount of companies, with an infinite amount of money, power and sway, have their say over where the UK’s future ends up. Perhaps it won’t be too long before we ourselves are at the French borders politely asking for refuge from the corporate destruction of our once free(ish) nation.

Either we push for some of our vital public services to be made exempt from the ISDS, which has already been vetoed, or, we deny the entire TTIP deal and wait until a better deal comes along that actually cares about keeping the nation’s liberty to fight corporate power. If we are impatient for change and growth we, alongside our money-minded governments, inevitably deny ourselves a say over how our future is shaped. Don’t go along with it.

Read more about how you can lobby against TTIP here.

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