“TTIP: What Should Concern Us All”, by Dr Peter Asquith Cowan

In 17 days time the British people will go to the polls to elect a new government. In the meantime we will have been lambasted with pledges, promises, sweeteners,  and we will have heard TV debates, statistics and all manner of banter from all the major parties.
There is one major issue that none of our potential leaders has addressed; – an issue that has the potential who overrule all the silk-tongued promises of the candidates, an issue that could have a devastating and irreversible impact on our society; an issue that has been conducted in ‘Secret’ behind closed doors that even our MP’s and MEP’s have not been a party to. TTIP.
Most people have never heard of it. This is the so-calledTransatlantic  Trade and Investment Partnership. Over a year ago EU ministers and US bureaucrats were holding ‘Secret’ talks behind closed doors and were planning the biggest corporate power grab ever. If agreed, this EU-US trade deal (TTIP) would grant American Corporate Business giants the power to sue governments, threatening to lock-in the privatisation of our public sector, our schools and the NHS; not only in Britain but across the entire EU. This has brought such a groundswell of protest across Europe that for the time being TTIP has been placed on the back-boiler, but be in no doubt, when the time is right, it will re-surface to threaten European Democracy as we know it.
This is a business deal that would have devastating and irreversible impacts on our society. We have been shut out of the decision making process. Negotiations are shrouded in secrecy. Anyone taking part must sign nondisclosure agreements. There is no access to the draft text of the agreement  – even for MP’s. The NHS should be excluded from any trade deal between the EU and America.
David Cameron could have exercised his veto and ‘ring-fenced’ the NHS. He chose to turn a blind eye. That is just “How safe our NHS is in his hands.”  Neither  Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg, Nigel Farage,  Nicola Sturgeon or the other potential leaders have made any reference to it in the lead-up to the General Election.
However, the electorate are aware of this threat. A union survey showed 54% of voters want the prime minister to veto it to ensure our health and education services are protected. If  TTIP were ever to be agreed, it would be the largest bilateral trade deal ever negotiated, backed by international law and policed by ‘Secret’ courts. At the stroke of a pen our “Sovereignty” would be torn in pieces, national law would be ignored and side-stepped and  our democracy eroded.  We would be giving all we hold dear to American Corporate Giants on a plate – including the NHS. So much for all the promises being made today by all the political parties. They would become meaningless.
Whatever party or coalitions run this country after May 7th, unless the then government intervenes, these ‘Secret’ unelected courts would grant American multinationals, or any firm with American investors, the power to sue the British government if it ever attempted to take privatised health services back into public ownership. The threat is not just to our public sector and the NHS it is to our self-determination and our democracy. We would be ruled by unelected  American Multinationals. If we fought two World Wars to give our country away on a plate to America; men, women, children and animals died for nothing. This issue should be at the fore-front of this General Election. Whilst immigration, jobs, housing, education and all the other issues matter…this is about safeguarding our country from foreign (American) control. I hope the British people take this as seriously as I do and make this their top priority when going to vote on May 7th. So far all the potential candidates for the role of PM have been muted on the subject. I’ve written to them all and  await an answer.

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