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.

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Cameron WILL pay the EU’s €2billion bill

Why do I say that? Because here is what he said (my emphasis):

“But it has never been the case that a €2billion bill is suddenly presented. I am not paying that bill on December 1. If people think I am, they have got another thing coming. It is not going to happen. We are not suddenly going to get out our chequebook and write a cheque for €2billion. We will challenge this in every way possible. There may indeed be legal action.”

So Cameron’s gripe is that the enormous bill was presented “suddenly”.  He says he is not paying that bill, but qualifies his statement with “on December 1”.  Thus, he has left himself an escape route which, if he is true to form, he will use.

PS: It is clear, from the Mail’s graph below, that by loading the majority of the budget increase onto a small minority of countries, the EU Commission is counting on there being no support amongst member states for Cameron’s ‘fight’ against it. The allocation has Britain so spectacularly out in front as the major contributor that it looks more like a snooker: the EU Commission is counting on there being next to no support for a Cameron bid for a rethink.

This should test Cameron’s mettle and EU leanings.

UK's EU bill of 1

Are Labour and Conservative ‘leaders’ both aiming for a hung Parliament?

Both Labour and Conservative conferences have been flaccid, dull and depressing – not just in delivery and format, but in drive.

Colliemum thinks that “Cameron and Miliband know that their only chance at governing next year is in a ConLab coalition.”

I agree. I believe LibLabCon are worried about UKIP gaining seats. The Tories, because their backbenchers would only countenance a coalition with UKIP – not the Lib Dems. Since the LibDems are likely to lose most of their seats (or a serious loss in their numbers), they are unlikely to be kingmakers.

So Lab and Con don’t have a potential coalition partner unless they team up with UKIP and teaming up with UKIP means their being unable to ram through EU legislation. That’s why I think Lab and Con are engineering a hung parliament – so that they can go into some kind of formal or informal coalition with each other on EU matters.

We’ve seen this happen on many occasions – the current government has relied upon Labour votes to ram bills through Parliament that the majority of Conservative MPs were very unhappy about.

Nigel Farage on Andrew Marr Show, 01 Jun 2014

For some reason, BBC iPlayer won’t load today’s Andrew Marr Show, so if you’ve been having the same problems, here’s the Farage portion:

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Related:

Newark by-election Poll – Survation / The Sun, puts UKIP 2nd, but up by 24% from the 2010 election result!

(CON 36% (-18)

UKIP 28% (+ 24),

LAB 27% (+ 4)

LD 5% (-15)

Others 5% (+5)

All it takes is a 4% swing from the Tories, which is not inconceivable.  The “don’t knows” at 4% might deliver a % or two.  There’s still all to play for.

The LibLabCon MEP Junkets you’re paying for

Much has been made of Farage’s ‘expenses’, although you might have thought that those who call themselves journalists would know the difference between expenses and allowances. Either they don’t know the difference or they choose to pretend that there is no difference, in order to score political points against UKIP and Farage in particular. Whichever way you cut it, they are not practicing journalism.  The clue is in the name.

This wretched piece particularly got my bile up – not because it was the usual smear that we’ve come to expect from the corporate media. but because the author hadn’t even bothered to get the said councillor’s side of the story.  It is simply a smear, based on a blog, based on hearsay and opinion and linguistic contortions.  The worst kind of ‘journalism’ there is.

Well, UKIP has dug up a shed-load of dirt on LibLabCon MEP junketeers – and it makes for rather sickening reading.  LibLabCon MEPs are whooping it up at our expense while they pile taxes and regulations upon us.  LibLabCon MPs and councillors are no doubt doing exactly the same and I hope UKIP will dredge the dirt on them, in due course.  We already know about a plethora of their crimes, but these represent the tip of the iceberg, I’m sure.

Fortunately, we have an honest news outlet in Breitbart – home to true journalists – which has issued a magnificent riposte to the so-called Farage-O-Brien “car crash” interview.

To be or not to be … in the EU, wonders Charles Moore

Amazingly, Charles Moore is undecided as to whether we should remain in the Evil Empire or to leave.  I marvel sometimes at how supposedly intelligent people are unable to weigh up the pros and cons of our EU membership and conclude that we are effectively tied to a corpse, of the undead, Terminator variety.

Anyhow, I thought Dogzzz wrote a stonking riposte to his article.  Here it is:

“So you asking if you want to give away what is left of our sovereignty, our independence, our Birthright to be a confident, self ruling nation, trading confidently and prosperously with the 4.5 billion consumers outside the EU as well as much more competitively with the 0.5 billion in the EU in order to hide, supine and cowardly in the most anti-democratic institution, having unelected foreigners change our laws to benefit other nations, and plunder our wealth to pay for it?

Or do we want to be the confident, friendly, prosperous independent self-governing global traders and friends to all, choosing and implementing our own laws, for the good of our own people, democratic, free and self reliant?

I cannot abide giving away our birthright to a profoundly anti-democratic entity which has just refused to recognise 3 popular referendums in the last three weeks alone. An entity which can now over-rule OUR elected representatives in OUR national Parliament and does so without regard for the needs, or concerns of the British people, at all..

I am unashamedly, proudly and patriotically going to fight FOR our nation, FOR our people and FOR our birthright. A birthright our forefathers fought in two world wars to defend. Democracy, prosperity, the English rule of law, common sense human rights, from the English bill of rights onwards,which we exported all over the world, for the Commonwealth and our historical global trading links with the whole world.

I support UKIP and I support OUR independence from anti-democratic oligarchy.”