Don’t buy UKIP’s hypocrisy on TTIP

UKIP are not opposed to the deal's content, they only wish they'd thought of it themselves


In their manifesto (p.17), UKIP call it ‘astonishing’ that other parties can remain committed to EU membership whilst opposing the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

They say:

“The level of public concern around TTIP makes it a good example of what can potentially go wrong while we remain in the EU and allow EU Commissioners to negotiate every single trade agreement on behalf of twenty-eight member states, including the UK, en bloc.

“Fears of what TTIP might contain precisely illustrate why UKIP believes we should leave the EU and negotiate our own free trade agreements again.

“We find it astonishing that other political parties, while launching high-profile campaigns against TTIP, nevertheless remain committed to our EU membership. Their hypocrisy is shameless.”

UKIP’s pledge to secure the exclusion of the NHS by name from TTIP is couched in anti-EU sentiment. But they are missing the point. The problem most parties have with TTIP is not where it’s negotiated; it’s the content of the deal.

For example, TTIP will bring EU food and environment safety standards closer to those of the US. US regulations are far less strict. In the EU, a substance has to be proven safe before it can be used; in the US a substance can be used until proven unsafe.

The difference this makes is alarming; the EU currently bans 1,200 substances from use in cosmetics, the US just 12.

Another matter for concern is the way TTIP could affect employment. In a briefing from last year (p.9), the European parliament admitted that:

“Simulations by Capaldo (2014)44 find that TTIP would lead to net losses in terms of GDP, personal incomes and employment in the EU (income decrease between Euro 165 and Euro 5 000, approximately 600 000 job losses, a continuing downward trend of the labour share).”

The US also has lower labour standards and employment rights than EU countries, which is why workers are opposed to the deal across the EU – not just in the UK. This is not a deal that will benefit workers or public services anywhere in the EU, which is why using it as an example of what the EU is dragging us into doesn’t work.

It makes sense for trade negotiations with big trading blocs like the US to be handled by the EU, rather than by each country individually. And it is not as though the UK has joined unwillingly.

Another big problem people have with TTIP is that it is undemocratic. The investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) is a treaty which would allow corporations to sue governments before an arbitration panel made up of corporate lawyers, at which other people have no representation, and which is not subject to judicial review. This could lead to situations like that which has allowed tobacco giant Philip Morris to sue Uruguay for its anti-smoking campaign.

Last year, 14 states wrote to the EU Commissioner trying to secure the inclusion of ISDS in the deal. As George Monbiot pointed out in the Guardian, this was a campaign led by David Cameron, and one that is vociferously opposed by campaigners in most member states. So while the deal has come out of the collusion of EU leaders, its impact on Britain simply cannot be blamed on the fact of the European Union existing.

UKIP are actually in favour of many of the things TTIP stands for; they just don’t like it being negotiated by the EU. Last year Nigel Farage said as much in a statement to the IBT:

“UKIP is in favour of free trade, but we are opposed to the undemocratic Commission negotiating on our behalf. Of course we look at each trade deal on case by case basis.”

UKIP MEP Roger Helmer wrote on his blog:

“If we’d been a free and independent country, I rather suspect we’d have had such a deal with the US ten years ago, if not twenty [….]  I think we have no alternative but to support the deal, even if we’d rather have done it ourselves. And of course in principle free trade is an excellent thing, a consummation devoutly to be wished.”

UKIP would welcome the relaxation of environmental restrictions that they complain are forced on the UK by the EU. They are in favour of reduced rights for workers – they want to scrap race discrimination laws, think paid maternity leave is ‘lunacy’ and want to scrap holiday and sick pay. Their manifesto (p.40) says:

“Some EU directives, such as the Working Time Directive, need amending because they actively restrict the British work ethos and therefore our economy.

And where the NHS is concerned, UKIP are not to be trusted. They may claim they want to protect it now, but Farage has changed his mind many times on privatising the health service; his ominous assertions that a ‘debate’ is needed suggest that when the going gets tough, UKIP won’t stand up for the NHS.

This is why UKIP’s manifesto pledge on TTIP is nothing to do with public concern, and instead demonstrates pure egotism. They do want the undemocratic TTIP deal; they just wish they had thought of it themselves.

Ruby Stockham is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow her on Twitter

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28 Responses to “Don’t buy UKIP’s hypocrisy on TTIP”

  1. Gerschwin

    This is drivel – they want a trade deal with the US but they don’t want it negotiated by the EU, where’s the scoop?

  2. Leon Wolfeson

    So they want to scrap it and start over, with us in a far worse situation because we’re one small country compared to the US? Woohoo! So, in 5+ years time we can get whatever they hand us.

    What’s clear is you have no problem with most of TTIP. Lower standards, lower wages, less jobs.


    I have always been against joining the EU. It must have been the biggest meal ticket for politians and the corrupt ever invented. I have tried to familiarise myself on TTIP from the BBC website. TTIP in my view will just be an extension of the EU a bigger meal ticket and corruption. What is left of workers rights will be out the window. USA lawyers would run rings around the EU on interpretation as they do with most things.

  4. Guest

    Well of course, it involves dirty foreigners.

    And TTIP is a UKIP wet dream, so your position is inconsistent. It is, in fact, not at all compatible with many current EU institutions and there’s a lot of opposition to it in the EU Parliament, which must approve it.

    As for your American supremacist stance…

  5. David Davies

    This is the only party that has broken the omerta over TTIP, which will complete the surreptitious meddlesome top down privatisation of the NHS. The `trade deal’ allows privatised profiteers to take over what is left in public ownership, and ISDS means that there is not a thing that anyone can do about it.

    Do you want YOUR surgeon to be on a minimum wage ZHC?

  6. Leon Wolfeson

    UKIP have indicated support for TTIP in the EU Parliament (breaking their usual “we won’t vote) stance, in fact.

    And given the EU Parliament is where there’s effective opposition to it…


    We do not need an EU parliament for anything. When we joined the EU we were told it was just a trade agreement. A monitoring committee to ensure free trade is all that is required. The right to self determination and control of your own border should not be determined by others.

  8. Guest

    Yada yada democracy not needed. As you make up lies about the EU referendum.

    You want one of the four freedoms, as you try and deny the general election votes which HAVE shown the UK’s preferences on EU membership and borders.


    I do not have a propensity for lying however I did participate in the referendum and do recall some off what was said. So what are you scared of and why? I had my chance to vote so why not give the younger generation a say at the ballot box.

  10. Guest

    No, you have an affinity for it, it seems. I’m not the one here scared of the Other, trying to cancel trade and wall the UK off!

    The younger generation do have a say at the ballot box – as both Atlee and Thatcher agreed, it’s at the general election! Scared of that, too?


    The Ballot box is about who runs Britain. You really are scared to have the British give a decision about the EU.

  12. Guest

    Nope, unlike you I’m good with general elections, and I’m not way, way outside Atlee to Thatcher in my politics. That you are happy being outside that broad spectrum…


    Atlee had no say in Europe and Thatcher was treated with contempt by Helmut Cabbage.

  14. Guest

    Right right, you don’t like either of the lefties, blah blah.


    Which lefties?

  16. Guest

    ,,,You just listed them.
    Really, it’s sad.


    What list?

  18. Mary Ann

    That’s not true, the Yes leaflet talked about closer union.

  19. Mary Ann

    The EU parliamentary elections had the majority of voters voting for pro EU parties.

  20. Mary Ann

    So the kippers supported it just to oppose the concerns of the majority of EU MPs, Typical ukip, never mind the interests of Britain, support TTIP and then blame the EU when we get it.


    Well Mary Ann or whoever you are Please produce the leaflet. Copy and paste. Waiting! I was on the No side with the TGWU. Talking and actual policy are different.

  22. Guest

    Fish, tree, sky. Baboons.

    (Bot test)

  23. Ian Young

    The early Thatcher was quite a good negotiator in Europe but she was treated with contempt by Kohl by the late 80s as she had lost the plot as didn’t not understand the tide of history that was engulfing the continent. While Bush, Mitterand, Gorbachev and Kohl grasped the need for reunification and anchoring the east into the EU, Thatcher has disappeared into a 19th fantasy world of forming a triple alliances with France and the Soviet Union to block imagined threats from Germany. The woman was an embarrassment and that’s why her party decided she had to go.


    Have you been on holiday Ian! I reckon Thatcher came to terms with the fact we should never have joined the Common Market. Once in the whole project changed from trade agreement to political union and interference in the British Parliamentary and Judicial system. A nation is fully entitled to control its borders or the nation becomes redundant. Britain is a Nation and we should remove ourselves from the EU.

  25. Sanchez

    “And it is not as though the UK has joined unwillingly.”

    Are you having a giraffe!?

    What lefties do not get is that we did not sign up for political union. NOBODY in the UK voted for the EU – they voted for a free trade bloc! Why is it so hard for modern lefties to get their heads around that!?

    The left in the 1970’s and 80’s were the most critical of pre-EU institutions of all the then political parties, but nowadays they can’t seem to get enough of being shafted by Brussels on a daily basis.

    The article also states:

    “It makes sense for trade negotiations with big trading blocs like the US to be handled by the EU, rather than by each country individually.”

    No it doesn’t. It makes absolutely no sense at all. This article calls TTIP “undemocratic”. So what could be more undemocratic than a supranational organisation of unelected bureaucrats making secret deals and enforcing law onto member states, instead of allowing national governments to do deals according to their own national and economic needs? This approach assumes that all EU member states have the same shortfalls and desires, when they clearly do not. The failing eurozone and its failed economics are living proof of how this approach can damage millions of lives, leading to lack of hope and prosperity.

    Nigel is completely right. TTIP in both content and principle is perfect example of why we should all leave the EU and be free to trade with the whom we want and when we want.

  26. Xaider

    This blog post is beyond implausible conspiracy and comedy.

    Just because UKIP support free trade and establishing our own trade agreements, that does not mean they will sign away sovereignty to corporate masters, and also have such horrific terms like TTIP.

  27. lost

    what the hells up, why cant ppl see what is going on

  28. Sanchez

    Good question. I think a lot of the brainwashing has to do with the overwhelming BBC bias, and the EU funding their own propaganda campaigns in schools and universities. Add to that the fact that the majority of public sector workers vote left-wing and anyone with conservative and eurosceptic views are pushed out of those jobs, you have a recipe for soviet style brainwashing.

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