Political matters decided behind closed doors

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This is considered the silly season politically with Parliament in recess but there are some serious political matters being decided in secret, behind closed doors.

I write to alert readers to one of the biggest threats to face public services, including the NHS, and the environment in decades.

It comes in the form of an international trade agreement currently being negotiated without any reference to the electorate.

There has been no debate or decision in Parliament as to its importance to our national life.

The agreement is called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

Negotiations for this trade agreement would allow the wholesale incursion by the private sector into public services and public procurement.

If passed, this agreement would make it nigh on impossible to bring poorly performing privatised services back under public ownership and threaten those already under public ownership.

TTIP is mainly about increasing the power of multinational and transnational investors, generally big business and hedge funds, and reducing regulation on these bodies.

TTIP would establish in law the right of large companies for private profit to sue nation states in a special court.

This process is called the Investor–State Dispute Settlement.

If a nation’s regulatory framework was deemed a barrier to free trade, then a state could be sued.

In other words, instead of a conglomerate corporations being accountable to nation states, the system would operate the opposite way round. That cannot be right and just.

If such a proposed agreement is not changed it will be a recipe for a free-for-all global market capitalism which will punish the poor, exploit the diminishing resources of the earth, wreck the environment and reward the rich with even more profits.

Campaigning bodies, such as War on Want, the People’s Assembly and Trade Unions, are alerting people to this potential threat.

Local people should contact their councillors, MPs and MEPs calling upon them to have public services taken out of TTIP and to make companies accountable to states before it is too late.

David Penney

Member of East Lancashire People’s Assembly