Tag Archives: GM food

Explained: The EU vote that could set corporations above countries. But do you care?


Note: This article is aimed at people whose response to TTIP (and other serious issues) is to ignore it and hope it will go away. If you are not one of these people, please share this article with someone who is.

Details have emerged about the vote in the European Parliament on the secret EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership that will affect UK citizens so harshly – but which gathered very little interest from any of you last week.

The European Parliament voted by a majority of 436 to 241, effectively to allow the deal to go ahead – ignoring repeated and widespread protest from their own constituents, according to Lee Williams in The Independent.

TTIP is about reducing and removing regulations that hamper trade – but protect the public and the environment. Once it is in place, you can expect to eat growth hormones in your beef that have been linked to cancer, your cosmetics will be filled with formerly-banned chemicals, GM foods (copyrighted by the firms that created them) will be forced onto your plate and pesticides will be filled with endocrine disruptors that can cause cancerous tumours, birth defects and other developmental disorders.

Critics have pointed out that the deal would lock privatisation into the UK’s National Health Service, meaning your treatment for any of the disorders created by these profitable enterprises would vary in effectiveness, depending on where you live. Once the deal is signed, there will be no way to ensure that we all receive a high standard of care; no UK government minister has any duty to provide it.

Are you interested now? Or is it still not worth worrying your pretty little head about it?

Fortunately for you, many other people have been working hard on your behalf. Unfortunately, your representatives in the European Union are doing all they can to silence this dissent. But that’s nothing to do with you either, one supposes.

The European Commission’s public consultation on one of the most controversial parts of TTIP – the Investor-State Dispute Settlement section that would allow corporations to sue nation states if legislation was passed that might restrict profits – received a resounding no from a staggering 97 per cent of respondents – but this was ignored.

A European Citizens’ Initiative against TTIP currently stands at over 2,300,000 signatures, but has been dismissed as “illegitimate” by the unelected European Commission.

If the Investor-State Dispute Settlement system is included in the deal, there will be nothing you can do to prevent fracking or phase out nuclear power. Look at the Australian court case on limiting cigarette advertising for a current example.

Lots of you say you oppose fracking. Why aren’t you interested in this?

And commentators say the vote was rigged by some creative procedural changes from EU President Martin Schulz, meaning nobody voted on a plan to cut ISDS from the deal altogether, while a watered-down ISDS scheme won MEPs’ approval.

What happened on Wednesday was proof that democracy has no power in the European Union and big business trumps the rights of citizens.

But you’re not bothered, are you?

Tell you what – you go back to watching Coronation Street, Britain’s Got Talent, or the media anaesthetic of your choice. Enjoy a game of Criminal Case.

Leave the heavy lifting to those of us who actually care about our health, the environment and democracy. There aren’t enough of us but obviously you’re more interested in other things.

Just remember, when the deal is in place and there’s nothing you can do:

You had a chance to stop it.

But you couldn’t be bothered.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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