guy’s newsletter: TTIP my personal tipping point

Since retiring 25 years ago, my father has reinvented himself as a living example of low carbon existence with attempts at anaerobic digesters, solar panels, composting loos and a permaculture garden. In his spare time he audits the moral and ethical performance of his progeny and their businesses. It was he who dumped a mountain of genetic modification papers on my desk in 1998, and encouraged me to mount a challenge on the legality of a local GM trial that went all the way to the High Court.

Now he is hassling me about his latest bugbear; the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). After an evening of researching it myself my blood is up too so, at the risk of causing irritation by straying from vegetables into politics, here goes. The TTIP is being negotiated in secret between the EU and USA with the aim of removing barriers to trade, and thus promoting growth. Sounds positive in theory, but in reality any government action deemed restricting to trade in goods or services (and thus impacting on corporate profits) will be open to challenge. Disputes will be settled in secret by three ‘trade experts’ whose guiding rationale will be that anything interfering with free trade is illegal, whatever the views of a country’s electorate or government.

The TTIP would restrict our or any EU member government’s ability to set a minimum wage, legislate on human rights or even operate nationalised industries like the NHS. Under the TTIP we would be unable to fight the introduction of GM crops (or even insist on them being labelled), prevent hormone use in beef and milk production, or restrict the use of neonicotinoid insecticides to protect our bees, or indeed to enforce many laws protecting our health, the environment or animal welfare. To accept the TTIP would be to sacrifice democracy and any semblance of personal or national autonomy at the altar of growth and corporate profit. There must come a point where the human and environmental cost of marginal increases in GDP is too high; for me this is it. If you feel similarly concerned, please visit 38 Degrees to find out more and sign the petition, or write to your MP.

Guy Watson

11 responses to “guy’s newsletter: TTIP my personal tipping point

  1. Hi – thank you for raising awareness of this – I hadn’t noticed it happening, and I thought I was more “on the case”! However, there are so many “issues”, I sometimes get blinded by them all. I really appreciate you raising awareness of this. Bravo! Kirsti Date: Fri, 12 Sep 2014 06:14:05 +0000 To:

  2. Vivien Cruickshank

    Just signed the Petition.

  3. Guy, thank you for blogging on this- it’s an incredibly important issue, and needs much wider airing.

  4. Thanks for raising this – a critical issue and needs much wider airing. Where are we being led by the nose?

  5. This is what I signed up for. A Riverford veg box just isn’t the same without a well informed rant especially one that engages the more politically minded veg lovers among us. I was a tad worried that you’d become all middle classy and too focused on winning all those marvelous awards. More rants please.

  6. Thanks for the reminder Guy. We have just come to the end? Of a successful 18 month campaign to prevent oil exploration in our beautiful village of Fernhurst. Now more time to think of other things.

  7. Thanks for highlighting this, I’ve signed and shared.

  8. Well done Vivian – judging by the lack of comments here, Guy’s word’s seem to be falling on deaf ears, and heads in the sand.

  9. All I can say is “Good on yer, Guy”.
    Everybody should sign the 38 Degrees TTIP petition and tell their friends about it. I have a list, 3 A4 pages long, of NGOs in USA and Europe that have sent a letter to the governments involved, protesting about the workings of the proposed trade agreement. The organisations include most of the world’s major humanitarian and environmental organisations. Our government is still all for it and so is the EU Commission. You might be interested to know that all of the EU governments have excluded their health services from the agreement. Oh, sorry. I meant all except the UK.

  10. Very scary. I live in UK so will sign this. I am from New Zealand and the US are also negotiating with the New Zealand government and 11 other pacific rim countries for a Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. Also in secret! If signed this could happen “big overseas companies will be able to sue the New Zealand government for millions in damages in secretive offshore tribunals, claiming that new laws and regulations (for example, a ban on fracking, smoking control laws, or a cap on electricity prices) have seriously undermined the value of their investments.”

  11. Signed the petition, re tweeted and also sent it round to all the local allotment sites with a link to your newsletter. Have also sent them the Roundup newsletter with a request that we ban its use across the district. Thank you. Keep fighting.

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