THE BLOG

TTIP's Threat to Democracy

09/10/2014 16:43 BST | Updated 09/12/2014 10:59 GMT

Perhaps one of the most common questions posed to politicians whilst out on the campaign trail is "what's the point in voting?"

This disengagement with the political process, of parties and politicians is understandable given occurrences such as the MPs' expenses scandal and the Westminster party leaders morphing into slightly different shades of same-ness, voting can seem pointless.

Add to that the growing belief that individuals are more powerful in the 21st Century western world as consumers, rather than voters. It is little wonder that dwindling turn-out at elections are no longer newsworthy.

Less participation though is potentially dangerous because it provides cover for a small, powerful elite with the cover to inflict a dangerous reversal of basic democratic principles.

Facing job insecurity, struggling to make ends meet and becoming increasingly anxious about the immediate challenges of the post-recession age, the citizens of Europe are having their democratic values sold at the altar of corporatism.

Today is TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) 'Day of Action' - an attempt by those of us who fear the impending US-EU trade agreement to raise awareness among our fellow citizens of what is at stake if the deal is implemented.

TTIP marks the merging of the EU's common market with that of the United States, but without the social and political safeguards that at least theoretically exist in the EU.

It is worth noting that little has been divulged in terms of the exact content and the extent of the risks to public services.

But what we do know should be a matter of concern for everyone.

It is telling that those on the right do not miss an opportunity to bemoan apparent losses of sovereignty from these shores on such draconian and dangerous matters as human rights and environmental standards, and at the same time they celebrate a wholesale sell-off of sovereignty to multi-national corporations.

TTIP will subject Europe to American-style 'light touch' regulation for corporate take-overs and practices. It will drape a constant shadow of uncertainty over public services in the form of possible aggressive private take-overs.

It will 'future proof' the profits of corporations so that any changes to laws or regulations by democratically elected governments will be open not only to corporate challenge but could result in tax-payers coughing up for the potential loss of future, mythical profits.

To ensure protection for multi-nationals from democratic institutions, decisions will not be subjected to our own judiciary, but instead to private, corporate, closed-door courts.

Many of us hoped that after the financial crisis of 2007/08 and the consequential bail-out by the people that the pendulum might swing in favour of democracy, a rebalancing away of corporate power.

TTIP represents the latest example of neo-liberal super-confidence.

The Party of Wales calls on everyone who believes that public services should be in public hands and that markets should be answerable to democracy, to join us in resisting this latest attempt to sell-off and sell-out our future.