Earlier this year saw demonstrations across Europe - against a EU-US Trade Deal called Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
The plan was strongly opposed by campaign groups. who fear that the TTIP would be at the expense of public services, such as our own NHS.
When the TTIP was put to the European Parliament in June, it seems proceedings were closed, before the debate had been concluded.
Many MEPs shouted and booed in frustration, but may not have been surprised at the lack of transparent democracy.
Now it seems that we may expect anti-TTIP demonstrations in Sussex, and it is worth reviewing the key concerns, which are i) that big companies could bypass national courts, resolving disputes in secret and ii) that the UK has limited control over the terms of such Agreements, because the EU is a Customs Union, where individual states don’t negotiate their own Trade Agreements.
There is particular concern that the TTIP could lead to effective privatisation of the NHS, because the treaty seems to require ‘market access’ to public services.
To avoid that risk, the NHS would need to be excluded from the TTIP and we must continue to press for that.
Another option would be for the UK to repeal the 1972 EC Act (if it is deemed legal) - or to strike it from the Statue Book, if it is not legal - replacing it with a Trading Agreement, but that may depend on the outcome of the Referendum.
Those who don’t want the risk of government (and public services) being made subservient to corporations, could vote NO to Political Union, leaving the UK to establish its own Trade Agreements with Europe and beyond. with our own MPs accountable to us for their success - or otherwise.
It used to be called Government for the People, by the People and it may yet be within our reach.
Melrose Place, Storrington
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