This week we had yet another warning about the huge danger presented by the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), this time that the treaty may force us to water down the environmental protections that keep us safe and make our food exports so highly valued.
Despite the risks, still very few know about the treaty. That’s partly by design – the European Union and the USA are conducting their negotiations behind closed doors, in consultation with ‘business leaders’ but keeping ordinary people in the dark.
The treaty could let corporations overrule democratic decisions that threaten their profits. Protecting workers’ rights, renationalising our railways, even maintaining a publicly-run NHS, could all become illegal on the say-so of a tribunal of corporate lawyers.
The danger to the NHS has rightly been at the forefront of concerns, with campaigners demanding that the UK Government exempt the NHS from the treaty – which the Coalition is still refusing to do. But even if we win that exemption, so much more that is vital to our democracy and wellbeing is still at stake.
This corporate powergrab is being constructed in secret for a reason. Those involved are amounting on the people’s ignorance and silence. I’m confident that Scotland will disappoint them.
John Finnie MSP