A lot of you have contacted me about the TTIP, thank you for that. It is really encouraging to see how many people have their eyes and ears open now and are prepared to take action to show they will not stand for potential further privatisation of our public services and weakening of our democracy.
“The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a proposed free trade agreement between the European Union and the United States. Proponents say the agreement would result in multilateral economic growth, while critics say it would increase corporate power and make it more difficult for governments to regulate markets for public benefit. The American government considers the TTIP a companion agreement to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. After a proposed draft was leaked in March 2014, the European Commission launched a public consultation on a limited set of clauses and in January 2015 published parts of an overview. “
Read more from Wikipedia on the TTIP here.
Groups such as 38 Degrees have been following the TTIP as closely as anyone and have warned that it could help speed up the privatisation of our services, the NHS in particular as well as giving corporations further powers to sue elected governments should they pass laws which hurt their profits. The full text has not been made public, so it is difficult to verify either the positive of negative interpretations.
As a 38 Degrees member and concerned citizen myself, I have also been anxiously watching the progress of the TTIP. I am hopeful that there must be something of value to the UK population in it, but so far, it seems as toxic as it comes. I am extremely against the idea of corporations having new powers to sue governments because this would make it difficult to reverse privatisation that has already taken place. The fact that the NHS has not been removed from the TTIP despite the overwhelming public opposition is further evidence of how completely the wishes and ideals of the electorate have been ignored by our current government.
If I am elected I will lobby for complete rejection of the TTIP. If there is anything which would benefit the UK as a whole in there already, then let us take that forward in a new agreement and not waste everyone’s time and effort trying to unpick the current TTIP or placate the public by promising to remove “sections” only. I hope that MP’s will be given a chance to view the deal if it still exists in May, in which case I will communicate everything I can with you. If I am somehow prevented from doing this then I will pursue whistleblower protection so that I can communicate its contents.
It is important that the UK continues to further partnerships with our neighbours, but excluding defense and security issues, this should be done in a way that the electorate can interrogate, and preferably participate in, in a responsible and constructive manner.
Reversal of the creeping privatisation of the NHS in particular, which has been going on for at least 10 years, is something which I will make a top priority. All of the healthcare professionals, patients and general public I have spoken too, without exception, have stated that this would improve our NHS (along with hiring more medical professionals, on fair pay, ensuring they have the resources they need to do their jobs and matching the EU norms for total government healthcare spending).
Did you know that education has also been suffering from privatisation? Some heads of companies which run just a handful of schools earn twice the salary of the Prime Minister, regardless of how well or badly those schools are run, or how much the taxpayer is paying to support them? I will be standing for the reversal of this process as well.