What is TTIP?
Exactly. The controversial agreement will be voted on in European Parliament next week, having been debated on, protested against, and pushed for by top level corporations.
The implications of the deal (affecting the UK) are many and adverse. While overwhelming support is predicted for the TTIP, the recent sticking point of the negotiations was over the controversial ISDS, which would grant a foreign investor the right to initiate dispute settlement proceedings against a foreign government - this was finally passed, and thus the final vote is set to take place.
Perhaps the most worrying part of the deal regards the NHS - while Labour and Tory MEPs insist it is not involved in the agreement, yet Lord Livingston recently commented this was not the case.. Naturally, banks will gain even more power as they are set to be deregulated even further (what could go wrong with that?), and the EU begrudgingly admitted employment, despite the pledge of the deal to "promote trade and jobs", will fall as jobs switch to the US. There are also severe threats to environmental safety standards and privacy.
The stance of our MEPs is quite interesting, and perhaps one of the only times I would agree with UKIP. Here are some answers to emails I sent our MEPS a few weeks ago.
Richard Howitt had this to say: "Labour MEPs have consistently said we oppose any TTIP which includes the NHS or "ISDS" secret corporate courts."
Stuart Agnew, UKIP MEP: "We are the only major party opposed to the TTIP agreement which could allow American corporates to win contracts from the NHS and, through the ISDS mechanism (which we strongly oppose), potentially sue the Government, if changes in policy reduce their profits."
Vicky Ford, Conservative MEP, was the most supportive: "I agree that more could be done to improve the transparency of this Trade Deal, and I have been working with others on this to see how this can be improved. A new trade agreement between Europe and the US is a unique opportunity. We should not miss this chance."
TPP is a similar agreement - the 11 countries (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam and of course the US) are set to enter into a 'partnership' which could encompass 40% of the world's economy - so yes, it does matter, and it does affect you. Transnational corporations will be handed yet more power in our plutocratic society - an example.
Negotiations for the TTIP (and TPP) have been very secretive, and you have to wonder why. If the deal was public, if investigative journalists were able to spread knowledge about this deal, protests would ensue from the awareness of possible detriment. That's not to say protests have not occured - many, but perhaps not enough, have raised issue about the deals - it is up to the many, those who have been kept in the dark, to research and resist. After all, if the Government has nothing to hide, why should it worry about transparency?