Get involved in Stopping TTIP in Manchester!

Stop TTIP Mcr will meet TONIGHT, 3rd September, at the Town Hall Tavern (M2 4JA) at 6pm.

Over the next few weeks we will be leafleting in different parts of Manchester, and organising a lobby of the Labour Party Conference this month.

To join us or just join our email list, leave a message here or contact through our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stop-TTIP-MCR/214321718779110

 

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Nick Dearden of WDM – Guardian article, 2/9/14

Bring on the defeat of the EU-US free trade deal

In spite of previous suggestions to the contrary, the proposed EU-US free trade deal will, after all, include the NHS, trade minister Lord Livingston admitted on Monday. The deal, known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership or TTIP, is a priority of David Cameron’s government – a “once in a generation” opportunity. But officials have been taken aback by the extent of public hostility.

At the heart of this opposition is the fear that the TTIP will give big business vast new powers over public services like the NHS, and undermine rights at work, environmental protection and food safety standards. According to a poll commissioned by Unite, 68% of people in marginal constituencies oppose the inclusion of the NHS as part of the deal. Even among Tory voters, just 23% supported its inclusion.

After weeks of the government telling the public that “the NHS won’t be affected”, Lord Livingston has admitted that Cameron won’t exclude the NHS, because the TTIP is too good an opportunity to sell our “world class health services” to the US market. This also means US health corporations would gain new “rights” to sell their health services here. And should they be impaired from doing so by, let’s imagine, a future government abolishing the Health and Social Care Act, those corporations will have the right to sue the British government through a parallel legal structure created by the TTIP. They won’t even have to go through our domestic court system.

The same fate awaits other public services and potential public services, from education to transport and energy provision. Protecting or renationalising services will mean the government is forced to “compensate” foreign businesses that want to invest.

It’s no wonder that an opinion poll commissioned by 38 Degrees at the weekend found that 39% of those surveyed thought the TTIP would be bad for Britain – three times as many as thought it would be beneficial.

The government’s strategy is becoming increasingly defensive. Yesterday, Livingston again repeated that the UK would benefit to the tune of £10bn. This is a fantasy figure, as former trade minister Ken Clarke has admitted. Even more ludicrous is the idea that the average UK household will “benefit by as much as £400 a year” – as if any advantages that do accrue would equally benefit every household in the country.

Perhaps the minister should be more worried that the same studies he is quoting from also predict that more than a million jobs would be lost in the EU.

So the government is now down to its last defence: suggesting that those opposed to the treaty are motivated by “anti-American” sentiment. But it is precisely in the US where opposition to the TTIP, and its sister treaty the Trans-Pacific Partnership, has been most vociferous. Democrat opposition in Congress has even prevented President Obama from getting special “fast track” negotiating authority.

Without this authority, the TTIP’s chances are radically reduced. That’s a good thing, because TTIP isn’t simply a threat to the NHS, or even public services in general. It’s an aggressive expression of the “free market” ideology that should have been binned with the financial crash. The defeat of the TTIP will be one more nail in its coffin.

Latest from European Citizens‘ Initiative campaign

Dear friends and coalition partners,

The summer break is coming to an end and preparations for the start of the European Citizens‘ Initiative (ECI) against TTIP and CETA are intensifying. We are still waiting for the decision of the European Commission on our registration. They have to decide by 15th of September, so we will know the result very shortly. If the Commission gives their approval, we can start collecting signatures straight away.

A lot is going on in the meantime and we’d like to provide you with the most important information on the campaign preparations:

  • Growth of the alliance: We are now supported by 202 organisations from 20 different EU member states! For a full list of members, please check this pdf: http://stop-ttip.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/ECI-Partner-List_0901.pdf. And we want to grow further. Do you have contacts in civil society organisations that oppose TTIP and CETA, especially in Italy, Sweden, Czech Republic, Malta, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania (all countries where we still have no supporters)? If so, please write to them and invite them to join our alliance or give us their contact details and we will follow up.
  • We propose to launch the campaign officially on September 24 (the day before the EU-Canada summit where the CETA ratification process should be initialled). For instance, there’ll be a media event in Berlin in front of the European Commission’s representation office. Maude Barlow, the chair of the Council of Canadians, will participate in this event. It would be great if similar events could take place in many other member states to create a powerful European start for the ECI. Please let us know whether you’re able to organize a kick-off-event and/or a press conference in your country. If you need any help please contact us as soon as possible.
  • Website: So far, the website is only available in English and we do recognise the ad hoc design could be improved. Please be patient with us. We’ll relaunch the website soon, initially in English, French and German. If you’d like to help us translate the text into any other EU language, please get in touch with us.
  • Preparing the online collection of signatures: On Friday, we received the very good news that our online collection system has been certified by the responsible authority. This means that we can start online signature collection from the very beginning of our campaign on stop-ttip.org. The certification is valid for all member states.
  • Preparing the ‘offline’ collection of signatures: We are currently producing materials that can be used to collect signatures on paper. Further information on how you can receive signature lists and flyers will be provided in the next update.
  • Growing the team: We now have a campaign office in Berlin that helps to coordinate our activities. It currently consists of Stephanie Roth (European Campaign Manager, stephanie.roth@stop-ttip.org), Michael Efler (Representative of the Citizens’ Committee, michael.efler@stop-ttip.org) and Cornelia Reetz (Campaign Manager Germany,cornelia.reetz@stop-ttip.org).

We will strive to update you frequently in the weeks to come. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask us.

Best regards,

Stephanie, Michael and Cornelia

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European Citizens´ Initiative Stop TTIP
Representative of the Citizens´ Committee