Tag Archives: ratify

The Shame of Shipley fails to derail Bill protecting women against violence

Three faces of Philip Davies, and none of them pleasant: The MP talks (and talks, and talks) in a bid to talk out the Istanbul Convention Bill.

I know this is the Season of Goodwill, but I won’t shed any tears if a passing reindeer craps on Philip Davies’s head.

Today (December 16), this man – the Shame of Shipley – tried to filibuster a Parliamentary Bill that would ratify the Istanbul Convention on tackling and preventing violence against women.

Perhaps he holds some kind of grudge against the UN Women’s Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, who co-signed a letter urging the UK government to ratify the Convention.

Emma Watson, the UN Women’s Goodwill Ambassador, co-signed a letter calling on the UK government to ratify the Istanbul Convention [Image: Rex Features].

Perhaps his problem lies in the fact that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal Democrats, also signed.

Perhaps he thinks the Conservative Government is betraying him (he thinks it is sexist to focus on violence against women).

Here are some more of the things he said to justify his position during his 78-minute speech:

Because the title of the Bill has about ‘combating violence against women’ then it presumes as long as you support that premise you must support this particular Bill, and therefore if you oppose this Bill it means you must be in favour, as it follows, of violence against women and children.

“Now that’s the kind of level of debate I’d expect from the morons on Twitter.

Having offended Twitter users, he said:

I don’t take the view that violence against women and girls is somehow worse than violence against men and boys.

That’s not the point; the violence may not be worse, but there really is far more of it. I note that the Daily Mirror web page carrying the story from which I’m pulling these quotes has a link to another news story with photographs of a woman who suffered horrific burns after her boyfriend doused her in petrol and set her on fire.

He tried to compare domestic violence with street crime:

My premise is that all the evidence shows men are more likely to be victims of violent crime in this country than women.

“If somebody comes up to because they hate you and beats you up to a pulp, it seems to me the nuance of what they hate you is less important than the scale of the injuries you’ve suffered.

That’s not the point. Street crime involves people who are either strangers or who may be expected to have a certain amount of animosity towards a person. Domestic crime is in the home, where people should expect to feel safe, and is perpetrated by partners who are supposed to be a symbol of that safety – and not a threat. It is a false comparison

This is not, as they say, rocket science. He continued:

He raised the case of Sadie Morris:

A female paedophile was sentenced to five years in jail after photographing herself abusing a three-year-old girl.

Or even the case of a Romanian sex gang led by women who trafficked vulnerable women into Britain and forced them into prostitution.

So what? Two ‘wrongs’ don’t make a ‘right’; these crimes by women don’t justify crimes against them.

In the same vein, when Catherine West told him two women are killed every week, on average, and it is extremely uncomfortable attending their funerals and seeing their children, he said:

There are also funerals of men who have died, and I’m sure that’s just as uncomfortable an experience for their children.

Sure – but two ‘wrongs’ don’t make a ‘right’.

And he said the Istanbul Convention makes it

explicitly clear that it’s fine to discriminate against men.

Does it? Does it really, just by saying it isn’t fine to discriminate against women?

No. It’s a non-sequitur. It doesn’t follow that it is fine to discriminate against men, just because it isn’t fine to discriminate against women. Non-discrimination against either is not mutually exclusive. It would be interesting to challenge Mr Davies on which part of the Istanbul Convention suggests this is true.

The Shame of Shipley eventually shut up after speaking for 78 minutes, when a Motion of Closure (bringing a debate to the vote) was passed. At the vote itself, the Bill was approved by 135 votes to two against. This was the Second Reading, which means the Bill will be considered by a Parliamentary committee and the House of Lords before returning to the Commons for a third time.

The government in fact supports the Bill, and 36 Tory MPs voted for it after Mr Davies was finally forced to sit down.

The “morons” on Twitter have been taking their revenge, of course:

https://twitter.com/MiriamBrett/status/809723778720792576

Yes indeed. How do the people of Shipley sleep, after having inflicted this multiply-meandering pest on the rest of us?

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Osborne’s bid to end democracy by the back door

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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:

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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.

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

EU Commission’s (leaked) mandate from EU Council to negotiate TTIP
http://www.s2bnetwork.org/fileadmin/dateien/downloads/EU-TTIP-Mandate-from-bfmtv-June17-2013.pdf

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
http://corporateeurope.org/sites/default/files/ttip-regulatory-coherence-2-12-2013.pdf

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

George Monbiot’s articles on TTIP:
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/04/us-trade-deal-full-frontal-assault-on-democracy

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/04/us-trade-deal-full-frontal-assault-on-democracy

Big business control of UK policy-making,including the UK government White Paper on Trade:
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/04/us-trade-deal-full-frontal-assault-on-democracy

These blog articles on TTIP:
http://davidaslindsay.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/seeing-red.html

http://davidaslindsay.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/seeing-red.html

http://kittysjones.wordpress.com/2013/12/06/the-coming-corporatocracy-and-the-death-of-democracy/

This Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/waatt.org

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

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Stop_the_EUUS_free_trade_agreement/?aTAVNbb

http://www.avaaz.org/en/no_champagne_for_monsanto_loc/?bJcgccb&v=32207

http://action.sumofus.org/a/tpp-lawsuits/?akid=3025.1529716.rGZEQN&rd=1&sub=fwd&t=1

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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