TTIP: corporations to sue government in private, secret courts

Well worth watching this HoC Business, Innovation and Skills Committee hearing (which I can’t seem to embed in WordPress): http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=16584 :

“Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership TTIP Witnesses 1.  Frances O’Grady, General Secretary, TUC, and Sean McGuire, Brussels Director, CBI; 2.  David Babbs, Executive Director, 38 Degrees Visit the Committee’s homepage.

TTIP only masquerades as a “trade agreement”.  It is actually a corporate take-over of governments, facilitated by its hotly disputed ISDS facet.

 “ISDS grants a foreign investor the right to initiate dispute settlement proceedings against a foreign government. It is commonly included in free trade agreements, but opponents say it could leave local level policymakers vulnerable to libel proceedings from overseas investors, should local laws interfere with their ability to turn a profit.”

ISDS gives corporations the right to sue governments if they perceive that a government’s law reduces the profits of the corporations.  The corporations would have the right to sue the government in a private, secret court set up by the corporations where, even if the government won its case, it would end up paying the ‘legal’ costs.  This would have a chilling effect on governments pursuing policies agreed to by democratic consent at elections.

So via ISDS, corporations could dictate to governments, thereby instituting corporatocracy in what would be one giant customs union of the EU and the US.

This is the stuff of nightmares.

Update: At around10:58 into the hearing, Tory Caroline Dinenage starts badgering 38 Degrees’ David Babbs.  She asks how he dares to advise his members to urge the ditching of the TTIP agreement when he’s spoken to no experts and has not been privy to information around the agreement!

Never mind that the TTIP negotiations are secret.

Never mind that nobody yet knows the eventual terms of the agreement.

No, Dinenage thinks that Babbs is disqualified from campaigning because he is campaigning on behalf of the public. So, effectively, the Committee has called Babbs in to answer for campaigning democratically. This is very chilling from a free speech point of view, as it is not for MPs to hold the people to account.

Cameron’s BS on corporation tax

In Cameron’s speech to the Conservative Party conference today, he stated that he wants lower corporate taxes in the UK than other countries.

David Cameron says:  “We have cut your taxes. Now you must pay what you owe.”

If they owe the money, then can’t you take them to court for not paying, Mr Cameron?  Oh, the law doesn’t allow you to do that?  Well then, why not change the law?  Oh, because the corporations won’t pay into Conservative Party coffers?

Cameron has given the corporations tax breaks at the expense of the ordinary man, whose business has been undercut by those very corporate tax breaks.  And yet the ordinary man is not asked nicely to pay: he pays or goes to jail.

Cameron’s “Now you must pay what you owe” line is pure PR BS.

And about those zero hours contracts that Cameron says he will scrap – the ones which his government brought into being:  why doesn’t he scrap them now?  Why did he allow them to proliferate in the first place, if not to massage the employment figures in the most dishonest way possible?

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Related:

Oh! Now libertarianism is to blame for immigration

The Tories are desperate to finger UKIP, as this latest piece of political sophistry demonstrates.

Mass immigration, as has been organised in Britain, is neither a left-wing nor a right-wing issue. It’s a corporatism issue. Corporatism is not capitalism – it is almost the exact opposite of it.

Corporatism is the unholy alliance between big business and the State, whereby big business puts politicians into office, writes laws which its pliant politicians enact – screwing the competition, while providing big business with tax breaks, immunity from prosecution, etc.*

Mass immigration benefits big business because it drives down wages in the host country, while supplying an ever-increasing number of consumers. The negative consequences of such immigration is paid for by the resident taxpayer.

Firstly, nobody voted for mass immigration. It was imposed on us by a government for whom less than 80% 20% of the country voted. There is nothing libertarian about that.

Secondly, the people of this country have invested their lives in the structure or institution that is known as Britain. They have paid taxes into it (rather than emigrate) and settled down, having planned for their future with their families. They have had to make assumptions based on election manifesto promises and they have every right to expect honesty and integrity from parties who made those promises.

Mass immigration has destroyed their jobs, their culture, and their life opportunities – and while they’re dead against it, they are being forced to pay for it all – especially when it all goes wrong.

What is libertarian about that?

*The NHS’s “health tourism” scandal is a perfect example of big business benefiting from the state. Big Pharma gets an unlimited number of clients whose bills are all paid for – in advance – by the state. Should “emergency treatments” turn into long-term “care”, so much the better.

Health tourism: Cui bono?

Professor Meirion Thomas exposes rife health-tourism in the NHS and almost, but not quite, points to vested interests.

As always, cui bono?

It seems to me that pharmaceutical companies and the like, stand to gain the most from this:  unlimited business, paid for by the taxpayer, who is not in a position to say no.

So who facilitates this practice, if not the civil service?  Isn’t it time an audit was done on civil service vested interests?  How many are in the pay – directly or indirectly – of those who stand to gain the most?

But I’m sure he knows that already.  It is a brave man who takes on the pharmaceutical companies.