Dear America (Yes, I know I’m emulating my old boss’s format here),
I’ve got news for you.
The Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is possibly the worst governmental decision that could happen to your country in modern times.
I mean, I’m talking worse than Obamacare, worse than Planned Parenthood (although I’m as shocked and appalled as you are), worse than TARP, quantitative easing, or even the ruthless and relentless attacks on the First and Second Amendments to your constitution.
I hope you don’t think I’m being needlessly hyperbolic. I’m not.
TTIP is a “free trade deal” that will stitch up the corporate landscape across Britain, the United States, and the European Union.
Much like Europe’s own Lisbon Treaty, the implications will be far reaching, but scarcely known or acknowledged before the paperwork is signed, filed, and ratified. At that point, even in the court of public opinion in America and Europe – it will be too late to roll back.
I talk about it to everyone I meet. It has almost entirely consumed my brain. TTIP. TTIP. TTIP. Am I mad, prophetic, or both?
I’m constantly told by Conservative Party activists and counterparts that indeed I am the former. TTIP, they reckon, is the best thing since sliced bread. But you only have to look at the trajectory of the Conservative Party in Britain to realise why this is not a gleaming endorsement.
Under Prime Minister David Cameron’s stewardship, the Conservative Party has become the party of big corporate interests. Mass migration is up. Illegal immigration is up. Gay marriage was introduced. Public spending on the National Health Service has been “ring fenced”, our aid budget has been enshrined in law with much of the money going to corrupt, despotic regimes, and our national defences have been run down like at no other time in our history.
If TTIP is getting the endorsement of the people who back all of the above (and it is) then you know we’ve got a problem.
But more to the point TTIP is championed by the corporate political class in Brussels and Strasbourg. A latent, unofficial and unincorporated party of people who have just a few guiding tenets of their philosophy. Expansion of the European Union and its founding ideals including:
c) Suffocation (of democracy, free markets, and national sovereignty)
Think I’m being hyperbolic? Cast your mind back just a few weeks. Greece. Remember that? Yeah it’s all fine now right? Europe sorted it out. And by that I mean Greece has basically had to sell off its national assets in order to repay the European Central Bank and its global partners. Sovereignty? What’s that? Democracy, huh? Who cares about the Greek referendum. That’s in the memory hole.
And now the United States is set to become an integral partner of all of the above, and be dragged into it at the same time.
TTIP, for all they tell you, isn’t about free trade. It’s about tightening the fist. The interview with Cecilia Malmström is evidence enough of that. But for some reason, the British press, commentariat, much like our American cousins, have not managed to “read between the lines” on European issues.
So I’ve waffled on and you want to know exactly what makes TTIP so bad. Well from a British perspective, in its current form TTIP opens up the National Health Service to outside tender. Not such a bad idea, some would argue, except we saw what happened with the Private Finance Initiative contracts. Instead of capitalism in a socialist system, we get corporatism. Ring fenced corporatism. Public and private colluding together, making everything worse for the public.
From a European, and all round perspective, we’re looking at the ability for corporations to sue national governments for changing, or introducing legislation that adversely impacts their businesses, regardless of public will or the democratic manifestation of that.
But for America – oh – for America, it means having to open up your public tenders to European companies. No more “Buy American”, which I’m sure the libertarians amongst the readership of this article will be pumping their fists about. Okay – so you’re not into job creation in America. I’ve got more for you.
We’re talking about the introduction (read: standardisation) of European regulatory standards across the United States. Again, there will be some people cheering about this. More regulation, “safer” produce, etc etc. But it spells disaster for U.S. agriculture, for instance, which has become accustomed to a certain way of working, and manages to hobble along with state subsidy already.
Think about what’s going to happen when you get the European Union making demands over the size, proportionality, and curvature of your produce? Think about what’s going to happen when they start demanding that your vacuum cleaners are too powerful, or your air conditioning is too… airy, and conditioned. There are jokes in this article to keep you reading – but the truth is it won’t be long until the EU gets its talons in on your regulatory environment. Be afraid, be very afraid.
What do you think Cecilia Malmström meant when she said that TTIP needed to pass before the end of the Obama presidency? You reckon she just really likes the bloke, and wants to have another
pint chai latte with him?
No, she means that only a Democrat would sign off on such a secretive, anti-free market initiative like TTIP. The Republicans, she admitted, would want too many “hearings”.
So America, please pay attention. The European Union is about to raid your economy. Actually, it’s going to butt-rape you into mediocrity. Because where the EU fails (seriously, because most Europeans are lazy), they won’t try to aspire to be like you, but rather bring you down to their level.
TTIP is going to be the manifestation of that. And now you can’t say you weren’t warned.