Tag Archives: george orwell

Osborne’s bid to end democracy by the back door


The Coalition government has finally put its cards on the table, calling for the completion of a ‘free trade’ agreement with the United States of America that will end democracy as we know it today.

Do you think this statement is needlessly hyperbolic? In fact, it probably does not make the point strongly enough!

You will lose the ability to affect government policy – particularly on the National Health Service; after the Health and Social Care Act, the trade agreement would put every decision relating to its work on a commercial footing. The rights of transnational corporations would become the priority, health would become primarily a trade issue and your personal well-being would be of no consequence whatsoever.

Profit will rule.

Also threatened would be any other public service that has been privatised by this and previous governments, along with any that are privatised in the future; all would fall under the proposed agreement. So the debate over energy bills would be lost because gas and electricity provision would come under the agreement, along with water and the Royal Mail, among others.

Speaking today (Wednesday), Osborne announced: “We should set ourselves the urgent task of completing the transatlantic trade and investment partnership – the EU-US Free Trade agreement.

“This would be the world’s biggest ever trade deal – together our economies would account for half of global output.

“The Commission estimate it would boost the European economy by 120 billion euros a year – that’s over 500 euros for every family in the EU. It would bring £10 billion pounds a year to the UK alone.

“Some in the European Parliament talk about stalling this Trans-Atlantic Partnership to pursue other agendas.

“But when a quarter of young people looking for work in Europe are unemployed, this would be a complete betrayal.

“We need to create jobs, increase trade, support business growth – we’ve got the European tools to help with the job, let’s get on and use them.”

Did you notice that, for him, it’s all about the money? Yes – he mentions job creation. But these jobs would be provided under terms dictated by the hugely powerful global corporations. Their bosses would take the profits and ground-level employees would be treated like – well, like Orwell’s metaphor for the future: a giant boot, stamping on your face, forever.

You may have heard very little about this – and for a good reason. The architects of the planned agreement want the deal done before anybody realises what is going on and organises robust protest against it.

So let’s give you some of the facts:


The US/EU Trade and Investment partnership (TTIP), called Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA) in the US, is a bilateral trade agreement between the US and the EU. It goes much further than any previous EU trade agreement in deregulating, in establishing the rights of transnational corporations and in undermining the ability of governments to control corporations.

It is set to completely change our society, and is already in process, as with the NHS.

‘Trade’ and ‘international trade agreements’ are different. While most people would consider trade to be good thing, international trade agreements give rights to transnational corporations while reducing states’ rights to regulate them, thus reducing democracy.

All free trade agreements include goods, services and intellectual property rights – but the additional elements of the TTIP that are the main part of the agreement are much more far-reaching. These are regulatory harmonisation, investor state dispute settlement and the intention to establish global rules via these trade agreements.

‘Regulatory harmonisation’ means ‘harmonising’ regulation between the EU and US, downwards to the most lax form, across all areas, to suit transnational corporations. This will mean the degrading of regulation on health and safety, food, environment, labour standards, privacy and much more, including financial services regulation. The NHS is now already ‘harmonised’ with the US corporate-access public health model – and this was always the Conservative Party’s plan.

TTIP will also include ‘Investor State Dispute Settlement’ (ISDS), allowing transnational corporations to sue governments directly for the loss of any future profits resulting from any government action, at any level, such as new legislation. Where ISDS is already included in ‘trade’ deals, it is shown to lead either to big payouts from governments to transnational corporations or to deter governments from legislating – the ‘chill’ effect.

In theory, this means that if a national government had banned a product – a toy, perhaps – on the grounds that it was harmful to health because it contained lead – for example – the manufacturer could then sue that government for infringement of the TTIP. The national government would lose, and our children would come down with lead poisoning.

In practice, we can see a classic example in the current lawsuit taken out by Philip Morris, the antipodean tobacco giant, against the Australian government over the law that enforces plain packaging on all tobacco products there. The law was enacted to discourage people from smoking – an act with proven health risks – but it seems likely that Philip Morris will win because Australia’s government has restricted its ability to make massive profits.

TTIP and the TPP are intended to set global ‘trade’ rules which will eventually become the norms for the multilateral World Trade Organisation, but formulated outside of a structure that allows other countries to jointly resist the corporate-dominated agenda.

As with all bilateral ‘trade’ agreements, TTIP negotiations and agreement texts are secret until the negotiations are completed – ensuring that the public cannot protest against them until it is too late.

Trade agreements are effectively permanent.

Although international ‘trade’ agreements are negotiated government-to-government (by the Trade Commission for EU member states), they are promoted and driven by transnational corporations, which benefit from states being bound by international trade law – these are the the same transnational financial service corporations that caused the global financial crisis.

As part of the TTIP, a framework for the ongoing ‘harmonisation’ of all future regulation is being put in place with the setting up of a Regulatory Co-operation Council. This non-elected Council will be able to override national and EU legislation.

‘Public procurement’ – government spending – is a major target in the international trade agenda.

The TTIP is being rushed through, with the aim of completion by the end of this year (2014).

TTIP will include provision for the movement of temporary workers across borders. This will inevitably mean cheap labour, and the undermining of working conditions and labour rights, especially in a context of degraded regulation. These are the jobs George Osborne wants for you!

The Trade Commission has set up a communications ‘spin’ unit to manage public opinion on the TTIP.

Once TTIP negotiations are completed, the European Parliament will only have the right to say yes or no, to the deal, with no amendment allowed. It will then, as with all EU ‘trade’ agreements, be provisionally implemented before it comes to member state parliaments for ratification.

In the US, the government is seeking ‘Fast Track’ provision or Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) from the Congress. If granted, US representatives will similarly only be allowed to pass the agreement or not, without amendment.


You may wish to examine the following documents for further evidence:

EU Commission’s (leaked) mandate from EU Council to negotiate TTIP

EU Commission’s (leaked) PR strategy “Communicating on TTIP” http://corporateeurope.org/trade/2013/11/leaked-european-commission-pr-strategy-communicating-ttip

EU Commission’s (leaked) concept paper on regulatory coherence

Corporate Europe Observatory’s analysis of the regulatory coherence document http://corporateeurope.org/publications/regulation-none-our-business 

George Monbiot’s articles on TTIP:


Big business control of UK policy-making,including the UK government White Paper on Trade:

These blog articles on TTIP:



This Facebook page:

Action against TTIP is already taking place. Petitions are available to be signed:




But more must be done.

You – that’s right, YOU – need to contact your MP and your MEP and make sure they oppose this evil plan to stamp on your rights.

Then you – that’s right, STILL YOU – need to get involved in setting up and building local and national groups to fight it, while you still can.

DON’T expect someone else to do it for you or you’ll end up a corporate slave.

… which is exactly what George Osborne wants.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Iain Duncan Smith – what went wrong?

The mask slips: Iain Duncan Smith shows us all his true face.

On the face of it, he looked so promising, didn’t he?

When Iain Duncan Smith took up his position as the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in 2010, it was as one of the architects of ‘Compassionate Conservatism’, a project that was the first to be announced by David Cameron after he became Tory leader in 2005.

The new minister had been involved with social issues ever since the theme of the Conservative Party spring conference in 2002 struck a chord with him – it was ‘Helping the Vulnerable’.

Apparently it touched on his beliefs as a devout Catholic, and came at the same time as he visited Easterhouse and Gallowgate in Glasgow, where he was struck by the run-down housing, visible signs of drug abuse and general lack of hope.

Critics within the Tory party said they didn’t understand his interest, as it seemed to involve him walking around housing estates. Liam Fox (now a disgraced former Defence minister) said it needed a context, such as stressing the role of the family in lifting people out of poverty. It seems he also lacked the deft communications skills that were necessary. Perhaps we should have listened to these criticisms.

Iain Duncan Smith later wrote the report ‘Breakdown Britain’ about the harsh realities of family breakdown, drug abuse and youth crime.

All of that promised a turnaround for the ‘Nasty Party’, with an emphasis on helping the most disadvantaged people to advance in society – a philosophy that many believed was vital for a party coming into power – albeit in coalition – at a time when the UK was facing its worst economic crisis for 70 years.

What a shame that it was all a lie.

George Orwell once, famously, wrote, “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.” To understand Iain Duncan Smith’s social security policy, insert the word “Conservative” before the word “boot”.

Just look at what he has done to the sick and disabled. People who rely on state support for their very survival have been subjected to a humiliating and highly-stressful regime of tests in order to keep their benefits – tests which are entirely pointless because it has been proved that only 13 per cent of them will be allowed to continue receiving their benefit indefinitely. The rest go into either a ‘work-related activity’ group, for people expected to be fit for work within 365 days, or are signed ‘fit for work’ and forced onto Jobseekers’ Allowance immediately.

At the time of writing, official figures show an average of 73 sick or disabled people are dying every week as a result of this Iain Duncan Smith policy. Every six weeks, more of them die than have been killed on active service in Afghanistan since the British Army moved into that country 10 years ago.

That is his worst crime – but not the only one.

He has raised the retirement age, meaning millions will have to wait longer for their state pensions.

He is forcing millions of benefit recipients to take less money by ‘streamlining’ their payments into a single Universal Credit, which will be more difficult to manage and will be governed by a computerised system that – at present – doesn’t work.

He has pushed hundreds of thousands of jobseekers onto a work programme that turned out to be more of a way for his friends in the private sector to take public money than a channel back into work. Figures released yesterday show that the government would have achieved better results if the work programme had never been put into practice.

He has taken jobseekers away from activities likely to lead them into fulfilling full-time work and pushed them onto ‘Workfare’ programmes, forcing them to carry out menial tasks like stacking shelves in shops, just to keep their meagre benefit money. The system means participating businesses don’t have to take on new employees, so unemployment remains high, and the state – in effect – subsidises those firms.

His benefit cap will lead to a rise in homelessness and child poverty.

In December 2011 he drew up proposals to stop “under-employed” people “topping up” their wages with hand-outs when they are capable of working for longer. Individuals will be told they must earn a minimum amount each week from their jobs and will face being stripped of their housing benefit and tax credits if they fall short, under the plan. He has not, to my knowledge, told employers that they must ensure they pay enough for this policy to work. Therefore we can assume that this is a plan to take housing benefit and tax credits (or Universal Credit) from low-earners – depriving them of their homes as well, as they go into debt with their landlords.

In short, far from helping to solve problems of poverty, homelessness, and crime (which is often related to these), his policies seem designed to make them worse! Despite being shown – at great length – the error of his ways, he has refused to be swayed and remains determined to stick to his homicidal course.

And this is strange, because this is a man who has personally profited greatly from state support.

His first job was taxpayer-funded military service, carrying bags for a Major-General. After six years of this, he left the Army and spent six months on the dole. You can guarantee he was getting housing benefit for it. Current plans would give a man that age only as much as if he was renting a single room in a shared house, and one must wonder how well this gentleman would have coped in that situation.

He then started a job, using the skills he had gained while being paid by the taxpayer in the Army – as a salesman for arms dealer GEC-Marconi. Remember, this is the man who would later play a major part in ‘compassionate’ Conservatism.

He moved on to a property firm, but after six months found himself back on the dole (and housing benefit, one presumes). Then he sold gun-related magazines for Jane’s Information Group.

Then he got elected to Parliament, in 1992. Every year since then, he has been paid more than most taxpayers earn, and currently receives £134,565 per year.

He has had four children and received child benefit for all of them. He currently plans to restrict child benefit, making it payable for only two children per household. He put all of his children through private school – with the help of his MP’s salary which is paid by, you guessed it, the taxpayer.

His wife’s record of work, since they married, totals 15 months as his diary secretary – for which the taxpayer gave her £15,000. It has been suggested that she did not, in fact, do any work at all while drawing this paycheck.

A more recent example of this behaviour pattern involves his policy adviser Philippa Stroud, who also receives cash from a political thinktank. Read about it here.

He lives rent-free in a £2 million Tudor farmhouse on his father-in-law’s ancestral estate in Buckinghamshire, with three acres of land, a tennis court, swimming pool and some orchards.

One would think, if anybody had reason to be grateful for taxpayer-funded benefits, and to understand how this funding can help improve the life of somebody on the dole, it would be this former jobseeker, whose salary is paid by us to this day.

What a small-minded, evil bigot.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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