The Bill will be the most dishonest piece of legislation to go through Parliament in decades – starting with its title. It will repeal nothing. The stated aim is to enshrine European laws that the UK observes (without having passed them as our own) into UK law, to ensure a smoother transition when Brexit happens.
But this is not true. The Tories intend to pick and choose which EU laws get to go on the UK statute book – and the plan is to ensure that the people lose out to corporations on every line.
So the ‘Bill of Rights’ – which was intended primarily to remove rights that had been conferred on UK citizens by the EU – will no longer be necessary; the Tories will simply cut those rights out of the Repeal Bill and hide it from the public.
Similarly, the Tories won’t have to face public scrutiny over their plans to ensure that corporations can sue the UK government if any future administration tries to put the good of the citizens before private profit.
The so-called Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system was a principle reason the US-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement foundered last year. Soon after, it was rumoured that the whole project may have been demanded by the UK government, with the intention of putting corporations in control.
Now, with our departure from the EU imminent, the Tories don’t need anybody else’s permission to impose the worst of all possible worlds on the people of the United Kingdom.
They are planning a new hierarchy, with working people at the bottom, enjoying no rights other than what their overprivileged toff masters hand down to them.
Next will be the apparatus of the state, as embodied in the elected government.
But the government will be a slave to the will of the corporations.
And who will be at the top of this system?
Why, shareholders in corporations, of course. And wouldn’t it be a strange coincidence if these boardrooms turned out to be stuffed with people who are currently Conservative government ministers?
Perhaps you should ask your Tory-voting neighbour why they support this kind of corruption.
Fundamental rights and powers that ordinary citizens currently enjoy will be scrapped.
This week we have discovered, for instance, that British citizens will no longer be able to sue the government for breaking the law.We will lose our rights, if the government gets its way, to sue for compensation in court when the government acts illegally and infringes our rights at work, or our right to a clean and healthy environment.
Currently, a European ruling means an individual can seek damages if the government has failed to properly implement the law. But the government says that no similar domestic law exists, so there will be no legal mechanism to get such redress in future.
There will be plenty more where this comes from. The Great Repeal Bill, after all, awards our government powers that no modern government has enjoyed in peacetime. And far from simply changing the words “European Union” into “United Kingdom”, ministers will gain the ability to make radical changes to fundamental human rights and environmental protections that simply don’t make sense when taken out of an EU context.
As if this weren’t bad enough, Trade Secretary Liam Fox is touring the planet looking for unsavoury regimes we can sign deregulatory trade deals with. And at the heart of those trade deals, in all likelihood, will be special “corporate courts” that allow foreign businesses the power to sue governments for regulations they judge to be “unfair”.
That’s right – as British citizens lose their ability to hold the government to account in court, foreign multinationals will gain rights to sue the government in secret arbitration panels for passing a regulation or standard that those corporations believe will damage their profits.
We know this because these “courts”, formally known as Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), already exist in hundreds of investment deals in which countries all over the world have been secretly sued for such radical actions as putting cigarettes in plain packaging, placing a moratorium on fracking, removing toxic chemicals from petrol. No appeal is allowed. And we know that the British government has been one of the most vociferous in the world in putting the case for such courts.
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