John Hilary, director of NGO War on Want, has called this deal “the end of democracy”.
The trade deal is called TTIP, which stands for The Translantic Trade and Investment Partnership, but you don’t need to remember that. If passed, corporations will have the power to sue governments who implement laws that might lessen the corporation’s profits.
This will take place in front of secret arbitration panels and this process is called something even less memorable that I also won’t tell you the name of it because, again, you will never remember it.
According to a leaked document from the European Commission, those in Europe negotiating on our behalf have devised a strategy of “managing transparency” in order to make sure the deal gets passed. I’m not sure how managing transparency works but it’s presumably similar to “bending the truth” or “packing a lie” for example. This was all revealed by George Monbiot back in December.
You’re probably still wondering why this deal is going to destroy everything.
Do you remember that campaign called ‘Save Lewisham Hospital’ which captured the public’s imagination and managed to save the hospital from full closure by health secretary Jeremy Hunt? Well campaigns like this that exist to protect the NHS from privatisation could become redundant as, under the new EU-US trade deal, corporations will be able to bypass Parliament and UK courts through the use of ad-hoc secret courts.
If future governments try to pass laws to protect the NHS from privatisation then corporations could sue behind closed doors to prevent this from happening. When even the Labour Party are emerging from the shadows of timidity to speak out on this, you really do have to worry.
There are some other more strange things that could happen. Did you know that 90 per cent of chicken carcasses in America are washed with chlorine to get rid of the bacteria? And did you know that 68 per cent of all food on the shelves in America contains GM? Well in Europe all of this is banned; but not for much longer perhaps.
Can you see a pattern starting to emerge here? Where there is something in place that may restrict the profits of corporations, under the new deal it would mean a country that has banned a product or service for whatever reason would have to pay compensation to the industry involved or let the product or service in instead.
This could lead to the deregulation of standards on everything from food safety, to the environment to cosmetics. KFC would have to be renamed CFC (Chlorine Fried Chicken) and no one wants that.
In the same month as the European elections, negotiations which will completely change the nature of the debate around our relationship with Europe are taking place with shadowy corporate lobbyists at the heart of the discussions
What hope is there in stopping the deal? John Hilary, director of NGO War on Want, has called this deal “the end of democracy” and “the biggest transfer of power to capital in a generation”. In opposition they stand united with the Green Party and as announced recently, 120 other European organisations
So please spread the word about this new agreement. Tell a friend about the EU-US trade deal. Beyond that, you should also probably write to your MP. It looks like the aim is to rush through the talks with no details entering the public domain.
Joseph Blake is a freelance journalist, co-founder of Transition Heathrow and campaigner with Plane Stupid, SQUASH (Squatters Action For Secure Homes) and The People’s ParliamentLike this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.