Why is Labour not opposing TTIP which gives multinationals power to override democratic laws?

March 3rd, 2014

Last week Parliament debated the Transatlantic Trade and investment Partnership (TTIP) currently being negotiated – in secret – between the EU and USA.   It was almost universally approved on both sides of the House, with only one Labour and one Tory MP expressing scepticism or opposition.   It was argued  that it will stimulate trade by removing tariffs and thus promote jobs and economic growth.   That is nonsense since these tariffs are already at minimal levels.   Even US and EU officials admit that the real goal is to remove regulatory ‘barriers’ which restrict the potential profits to be made by transnational corporations .   Yet these ‘barriers’ are in reality some of our most valuable social standards and environmental regulations such as labour rights, food safety rules (including restrictions on GMOs), regulations on the use of toxic chemicals, digital privacy laws and even banking safeguards introduced to prevent a repeat of the 2008 financial crash.   Constant attempts by the big corporates to circumvent these ‘obstacles’ have regularly foundered, but this time the issues are being rushed through as swiftly as possible with no details entering the public domain, in the hope that they can be concluded before the peoples of Europe and the US can find out the true scale of the threat.   So why isn’t Labour opposing it?

This is all the more extraordinary when, in addition to the deregulation agenda, TTIP also seeks to open up new markets in public services and government procurement contracts to competition from the big private multinationals.   That will usher in a further wave of privatisations in the most sensitive key sectors of health and education among others.   But the really biggest issue of all is that TTIP would grant foreign investors a new right to sue sovereign governments in front of ad hoc arbitration tribunals for loss of profits from public policy decisions over health, safety, workplace standards, chemicals use, etc.   This investor-State dispute settlement mechanism effectively elevates transnational capital to a status equivalent to the nation-State itself.   That would undermine the fundamental principles of democracy in both the EU and USA.

So again why isn’t the Labour Party wholly opposed and not even demanding that the veil of secrecy over the current negotiations be immediately lifted so that the public can be aware of what is being negotiated ostensibly in its name?   This goes to the heart of Parliamentary politics today.   The Blairite domination of the Labour Party from 1994-2007 perverted Labour from a social democratic/socialist party into a fully signed up neoliberal capitalist party.   The Left was decimated and the Blairite ideologues together with their centre-right careerist hangers-on have made Labour into a pseudo-Tory party mark II.   Ed Miliband is doing his best to move on and break from this constricting stranglehold from the past, but it still lingers on and kow-towing to this secret stitch-up with transnationals subverting British laws is a classic example of the difficulties he still has to contend with.

9 Responses to “Why is Labour not opposing TTIP which gives multinationals power to override democratic laws?”

  1. Jane Peters Says:

    Maybe labor got bought off.

  2. Sandra Crawford Says:

    Have all of Labours MPs studied the treaty fully?
    Often it is plain ignorance, and following my leader.
    I know very few people who are aware of the treaty, and what it will mean for them – the possibility of not being able to reverse the NHS bill. I find it very shocking that Andy Burnham did not oppose it. In the New Statesman it showed that he was going to Brussels to try and get the NHS exempted from the treaty, as it goes against his principles and election promises.
    What about Ed Miliband? Has he given up on democracy and socialism? He will look a bit daft trying to freeze energy prices and controlling the “predators” under the fascist dictat of TTIP.

    I hope that this is just ignorance, and not gigantic hypocrisy. Please do not give us another Blair.

  3. Sandra Crawford Says:

    Here is a link to my above post regarding Andy Burnham.

    http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2014/02/andy-burnham-nhs-must-be-exempted-eu-us-free-trade-agreement

  4. Ian Dickson Says:

    Why are you asking us? We already know that public opinion is completely ignored in today’s political paradigm, look at Barton Moss fracking. We rely on our MP’s to ask these questions to parliament. So ask them! A better blog, by you, would have been the question process with their response. But, well done on giving us transparency and promoting political awareness. The public have been blinded by underhand politics for too long. It’s time we took control back! We ARE a democracy, after all! WE control THEM!

  5. pete fairhurst Says:

    The same thing is happening Trans Pacific. Both are designed for corporations not citizens. Who cares about them any more? Not parliament obviously.

    And its all happening in near secrecy. How many people realize that their, and their governments, rights are being signed away so comprehensively? Its another major advance in corporate power, and most have no idea its even happening. Even MP’s it seems

    Why would you expect Miliband to say anything about this? He’s fully signed up to their agenda surely?

    Democracy? Don’t make me laugh. That’s just a distraction. I applaud your efforts Michael but you are in the wrong place to make any difference. The only way this will change is if ordinary people wake up and understand whats happening. And fast, its almost too late…

  6. pete fairhurst Says:

    Here is a summary of the Trans Pacific Partnership:
    http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/politicsnow/la-pn-trans-pacific-partnership-20140219,0,6747764.story#axzz2v7UFemrl

    TTP is 40% of the global economy according to the LA Times. And with virtually the same agenda as TTIP.

    Who knows? Who cares?

  7. Nicholas C Says:

    “kow-towing to this secret stitch-up with transnationals subverting British laws is a classic example of the difficulties he still has to contend with”

    His kow-towing is a “difficulty he has to contend with”? Surely he is the difficulty?

  8. frank moss Says:

    Can everyone write to Ed Milliband pointing out why the Labour Party need to resist this and to have another debate in parliament? an EDM that could say that without the informed consent of the people of Europe and America it shouldn’t be signed.

  9. Tim FLitcroft Says:

    DEMO against ISDS inclusion in CETA

    (ISDS Investor State Dispute Settlement
    CETA Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement between Canada and the EU)

    The final text of CETA which includes ISDS clauses is being signed off this week in Brussels
    This allows for the operation of ISDS in Europe even if it is not included in TTIP depsite overwhelming opposition to ISDS shown in the European Commission’s own consultation.

    This action is supported by a number of NGOs and Trade unions who have co-signed a press release and a letter to MPs

    Lets stand up and draw a line against corporate takeover of our democracy and our lives.

    https://www.facebook.com/events/314730332041553/
    Please spread via Facebook and Twitter

    Midday Friday Sept12th Department of Business Innovation and Skills 1 Victoria St SW1H 0ET

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