Nottingham meets the Modern Robin Hood, Jeremy Corbyn

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Jeremy Corbyn has met tremendous support for people all around England, Scotland and Wales. This has not been seen in the Labour movement for generations.

Take a LOOK at the queues waiting to listen to Jeremy Corbyn speak in Nottingham, home to the original Robin Hood.

This has been nothing short of astonishing. LISTEN to the event here, in high quality audio.

Unite the Union hosted the rally  in Nottingham and  present these Speakers:

Jeremy Corbyn MP
Richard Murphy, Tax Research UK and Economics Advisor to Jeremy’s campaign
Manuel Cortes, General Secretary TSSA Union
Annmarie Kilcline, East Midlands Unite
Tony Kearns, CWU
Nadia Whittome and Umaar Kazmi, young Labour members
Chaired by Cheryl Butler, Leader of Ashfield District Council

From this NG Digital site you can listen to the excellent quality audio of this  event, or download the file on ITunes

Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign for the Labour leadership has electrified the contest and brought new ideas to a stale political system. He is Labour’s best chance of defeating the Tories at the next election and bringing back voters lost to the SNP, the Green Party and UKIP.

Where Austerity Fails, Corbynomics Can Succeed

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Why Corbynomics can succeed

By Michael Burke

Previously published here on Socialist Economic Bulletin

The debate surrounding Labour’s leadership contest is being marred by name-calling and red-baiting. Perhaps this is inevitable but it is regrettable. Britain remains in an economic crisis, which has now entered its eighth year.  A more productive course would be to discuss how to end it.

A marker of that crisis is that per capita GDP is still below where it was before the crisis began in 2008, as shown in Fig. 1 below. This remains the weakest recovery on record and the year-on-year growth rate has slowed from 3% to 2.6%. This follows a period from the end of 2012 onwards when no new austerity measures were imposed. Renewed austerity on the same scale as in 2010 to 2012 means there is likely to be a similar slowdown.

Fig.1 Per Capita GDP

The Tory strategy is more of the same, which one commentator called a Captain Bligh policy, “the floggings will continue until morale improves”. This policy is supported by virtually all the mainstream press. Unfortunately, it is also supported by 3 of the 4 candidates for Labour’s leadership. They abstained on the Tory Welfare Bill the centrepiece of the government’s latest Budget. Only Jeremy Corbyn stands on a clear anti-austerity platform. His economic policy can be found here

(pdf). The Economy In 2020_Jeremy Corbyn

Longest-ever crisis

No-one alive today has ever experienced in a longer economic crisis in Britain. The nearest comparison for the length of the current British economic crisis was at the end of the nineteenth century and the Long Depression. As per capita GDP has not recovered it is extremely difficult for median average living standards to rise. On the contrary, the austerity policy serves to work in the opposite direction by transferring incomes and wealth from poor and middle-income layers to the rich and from labour to big business. So, the latest Budget included a further cut in the Corporation Tax rate to 18% while cutting £12 billion in social protection to the most vulnerable in society.

The Tory policy is straightforward. These transfers of income known as austerity will continue until the business sector is making sufficient profits for it to resume investment. The crisis will be paid for by increasing the rate of exploitation. The austerity mark II of the latest Budget is not because there is still a public sector deficit, as this will fall as it does everywhere even if there is moderate nominal GDP growth. Renewed austerity is necessary because business is not yet willing to fund an investment-led recovery.

The level of investment in the British economy was £295 billion in 2014, exactly the same as the pre-crisis level of 2007. But the economy is actually larger 4.2% larger (keeping pace with population growth, but no more than that). Therefore investment is declining as a proportion of GDP. Consumption, not investment is leading very weak growth and this is not sustainable.

Yet the profit level has also recovered and accounted for 37% of GDP in 2014, compared to 36.1% in 2007. So the Tory policy is not working. Profits have increased by 6.8% in real terms since 2007, but investment is unchanged. Fig.2 below shows the official estimate of the profit rate in the non-financial sector versus the proportion of GDP devoted to business investment. These are strikingly indifferent results for 5 years of austerity policies. The profit rate has only barely returned to its pre-crisis level and is well below profitability prior to this century. The same is true for business investment. Both of these are a recipe for continued slow growth.

Fig.2 Profit rate and business investment

The profits recovery has been greater than the investment rebound. As a result, the extremely high level of uninvested profits has actually grown. The level of uninvested profits in the British economy was £355 billion in 2014, compared to £261 billion in 2007. This is the main brake on a robust and sustainable recovery. Andy Haldane, chief economist of the Bank of England says that firms are ‘eating themselves’ by refusing to invest and instead paying out ever-greater proportions of profits in shareholder dividends. This has been a recurring theme in SEB, and we might add the enormous increase in managerial pay and bonuses which are also a factor. The remainder is deposited in the banks, where it fuels ongoing speculation in financial assets, stocks, housing and commodities.
Unfortunately, it is this Tory strategy that 3 of the 4 contenders for the Labour leadership have endorsed. They have no principle difference with the centrepiece of Tory strategy, cuts to social protection ‘welfare’, privatisations and cuts to corporation tax. The recovery from crisis will be funded by workers and the poor.

This is an extremist economic policy. In the first phase of the leadership campaign it began with an attack on public spending of the Blair and Brown years, placing the candidates not only to the right of New Labour but to the Tories of the time, who effectively endorsed New Labour spending.
Economically, it also places those candidates to the right of Thatcher, who both spent and taxed more than New Labour as a proportion of GDP. It is perhaps worth recalling that main rates of taxation were significantly less regressive even when Thatcher left office in 1990 than they are under the current government (and that many of them were made more regressive by New Labour).

Table 1 Main Taxation Rates- Thatcher versus current

Source: HMRC

This wholesale adoption of the key planks of an economic policy of a government to the right of Thatcher has been compounded by the refusal to oppose the Tory policy of cutting £12 billion from the ‘welfare’ bill. This is widely understood as a direct attack on the living standards of the poorest and most vulnerable and will directly increase child poverty. The Institute of Fiscal Studies, which is not a hot-bed or radicalism but simply uses the Treasury’s own model of the distributional impacts of Budgetary measures, was explicit in arguing that the Budget would increase child poverty.

Yet these measures were not opposed by the Labour frontbench or by 3 of the 4 candidates for leadership. Even the Blairites used to boast that they had reduced child poverty. It is more than a rhetorical question, but also a vital political one to ask if the Labour Party supports increasing child poverty, what is it for?
 


Corbynomics 

Jeremy Corbyn is the only candidate who is not proposing extremist economics. His policy aims to promote growth through increased public investment, funded by progressive reform of the current taxation system, and attacking the abuses of the £93 billion in annual payments for ‘corporate welfare’ in subsidies, bribes and incentives to the private sector.

At the same time he opposes any attempt to make workers and the poor pay for the crisis and rightly argues that the deficit would close naturally with stronger growth. This poses a different way out of the crisis than the one supported by the Tories and the Labour frontbench. His campaign and platform corresponds to a mood inside the Labour Party and wider society. The Tories only won 24% of the electorate’s vote in May because only a minority supports their policy. Labour got fewer votes because it had no alternative.

It used to be the case in the period of economic expansion before the crisis, that to some extent ‘a rising tide lifted all boats’. Even if the labour share of national income declined continuously from the 1980s under all governments, at least living standards for the majority in work were rising. That is no longer the case. The entire austerity policy means that there will be no rise in living standards for the majority until big business sees fit to invest once more. That is, only after having made workers and the poor pay for the crisis and a renewed fall in living standards.

 It is this policy which the Labour Party frontbench has signed up to. It is a shock to many in Labour that the verbal commitment to match Tory spending is a real one, even when that means supporting an increase in child poverty. Many are quite rightly revolted by it.

By contrast, Jeremy Corbyn’s economic plan is a moderate, logical and fair one. Big business has the resources to fund the investment the economy needs and as they refuse to invest on a sufficient scale, government will use some of their resources in the interests of society as a whole. Workers and the poor should not pay for a crisis they did not cause. Jeremy Corbyn’s plan for state-led investment offers a way out of the crisis.

The Observer’s bankrupt when it comes to Labour

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The Observer is Bankrupt when it comes to Labour

Richard J Murphy from Tax Research UK

If you read the Observer today (19/7/15) you would think that the Tories will rule in the UK until at least 2030.

You would also believe that Labour has taken leave of its collected senses to even have Jeremy Corbyn as a member.

And that a triumvirate based around Liz Kendall, Chuka Umunna and Tristram Hunt is the only group in touch with reality.

It goes on, and on, and on, all based around Andrew Rawnsley’s jaded perspectives, an appeal to people to believe the findings of a small set of focus groups (Really? After all Labour’s experience of them?) that say some people might never return to the Labour fold after 2015 and a poverty of analysis that belittles the paper.

What do I mean? Take this example (and there are so many more in today’s paper it could provide enough material for a PhD thesis) from the editorial, where it is said that Labour must learn that:

Parties can help shape … questions, but they can’t tell voters what they should be and certainly can’t ignore the ones that they don’t like.

And yet only paragraphs later the same editorial notes:

Even as the Conservatives are masterfully shaping the territory on which the 2020 election battle will be fought, Labour is focused on an introspective conversation with its members, not a dialogue with the country.

When the paper cannot even be internally consistent on what is politically possible from the left and right – one of which can apparently define the whole agenda for discussion, and so opinion, and yet the other can’t – within the same editorial its inability to construct an argument becomes painfully clear.

The whole paper is riddled with that inability today. Take this wonder from Alistair Darling from today’s edition where he says:

We want people to get on, each generation building on the achievements of the last.

Quite right Alistair. And then he adds:

That needs a strong stable economy, but also needs investment. Borrowing to provide housing or a decent transport system is a good thing and we should say so.

I agree. And then he offers this next observation:

And yes, we need to get debt and borrowing down, as I have always said. I’m glad Osborne was able to meet my target.

Any you wonder why people aren’t voting Labour? Let me explain it as a non-party member who looks at politics but does not partake in it at a party level.

The problem is threefold. First what Alistair Darling says is incoherent economically unless you say a) that you are going to screw the electorate for large sums of money to pay for the investment or b) you’re going to do more of the much hated PFI that is shifting vast amounts of public funds to the private sector or c) you’re going to do what I call Green Infrastructure Quantitative Easing but which Jeremy Corbyn calls People’s QE (as far as I can tell they’re the same). But Alistair did none of those things. I don’t suppose he has a clue what that form of QE is so he looked stupid, and deservedly so. And people, even people who know little of economics, have rumbled that. Until Labour talks economically literately it has no hope, and it is not.

The second problem is also implicit in Darling’s comment: he ended up playing on Osborne’s territory. That’s because Labour has no story of its own. This myth of the middle ground is nonsense. It’s a fabrication. It’s a lie that there is such a thing. The middle ground is simply where people are in the prevailing narrative. It’s where that  narrative has taken them, but let’s not pretend that parties cannot move where that is or should not want to do so: the Observer editorial recognises implicitly – but without the candour or wit to admit it – that this is what the skill of the Tories in the last decade has been: they have been able to move the middle ground their way. But what they then argue is that Labour should not seek to change that fact, or where the middle ground is. What the Observer is saying is that Labour must play by Tory rules on the middle ground the Conservatives have created.

But why would they do that?  If sending people into poverty, deliberately; slashing funding for the NHS; cutting investment in education; sending undergraduates deeper into debt; holding wages at near poverty levels; offering tax cuts for the richest and no one else; threatening to end the BBC and going to war without bothering to tell anyone is the middle ground then the Observer has clearly lost the plot. And anyone saying that this is where Labour needs to be, or thereabouts, has also lost any scintilla of reasoning they might have once possessed. It is this loss of reason so that they are even unable to identify the true nature of the problem that they face that is the third problem the likes of those in the Observer who think that they are on the left face.

It is this lack of intellectual capacity to reason that impoverishes Darling, and it is the same problem that cripples the Observer: somewhere within it (I can’t be bothered to re-find the link) it is said that all parties die in the end and so, it is claimed Labour must die if the left is to go forward. But implicit in that statement is the glaringly obvious fact that so too will the Conservative Party and its current narrative die, and yet there is not in any one the many articles the Observer publishes today (with the single unifying theme of attacking Jeremy Corbyn) any hint of this possibility. What is astonishing is that when the Tory narrative on Europe is close to shredding itself and that people may reject the whole Tory edifice when they lose parts of the NHS, education, the BBC, or just the nation as Cameron shatters the Union which was supposed to be the basis of his party, the Observer seems quite unable to notice any such possibility, at all.

So let me offer explanation for what is happening. What the Observer is really saying today is that it thinks there is one hegemonic narrative in UK politics and that it thinks it is neoliberalism.

It is saying that any threat to that narrative, from wherever it comes, should be challenged. So Corbyn is unacceptable.

And it is saying that Labour must oppose the Conservatives from within that constraint of subscribing to neoliberalism when the whole basis of neoliberalism is the shrinking of the state, the increasing division of reward, the privatisation of gain and the outsourcing of risk, all of which should be antithetical to Labour as I understand it.

So let me tell the Observer a simple fact: opposition on that basis is not possible. If the middle ground is neoliberalism a policy called neoliberalism lite is not going to work: from the outset that is by definition both a failure and bound to fail.

Opposition now is to take control of the narrative. Opposition then, when neoliberalism has become so universal in apparent appeal (except, that is, in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and significant parts of the North), is about offering a different narrative. It has to be: neoliberalism is a totalitarian logic of exclusion. The Observer’s logic is not just appeasing that totalitarianism in that case, it is in the process supporting it. This is not a situation where ambiguity is possible. You’re either for or against neoliberalism: there is no possibility of sitting on the fence and the Observer has made clear today on which side it fits.

So what is the alternative narrative? Is it some bizarre logic, as all Jeremy Corbyn’s opponents would wish to suggest? Without wishing to be involved in party political debate – because, I stress, that is not my bag – I suggest not.

Instead it is  a narrative that says people are the foundation of wealth, whoever they work for.

That means this is a narrative that values people equally whether they work for the state or private sectors.

And it is a narrative that says let each do what it is best able to deliver.

But which also says that if markets are best able to deliver then they have to be based on certain rules, like transparency, accountability, paying taxes, the prevention of monopoly power and the promotion of enterprise and not rent seeking speculation, because in case the Observer has forgotten it, these are the qualities that make markets work when the concentrated power of neoliberalism is simply about reward extraction by a few from the effort and assets of the many, and is as far removed from real market theory as Soviet tractor factories were.

None of which then says that this alternative narrative is opposed to business: far from it, this is a more pro smaller business agenda than anything that the right has put forward for decades because of the right’s bias towards wealth, big business and globalisation, all of which are the antithesis of small business success.

And that narrative has to recognise that effort is and will be rewarded but that the right to enjoy that reward is dependent upon complying with the democratic wishes of the society of which a person is a member, including its expectation that redistribution to deliver greater equality is not just the right thing to do, but a basis for enhanced prosperity for all in the long run.

That narrative also says that the state must and will use the powers available to it to deliver these goals if it is to be responsible. So it will invest when it thinks fit, and create the money to do so (back to QE) when the market will not deliver the scale of economic activity that the country can sustain. Wouldn’t anything else be wholly irresponsible?

And it will regulate to correct market failure, whether by banks or in the environment.

And it will foster employment by reducing the taxes on labour and increasing them on unearned income.

And it will not waste resources paying housing benefits when it would be better off building houses.

And nor will it penalise the young and lay a lifetime burden of debt upon them when they are the basis of our future prosperity.

There is much more to the vision, of course.

But for heaven’s sake, if the Observer cannot see that it is only by talking about alternatives that Labour (or any other left of centre party) can put together the necessary coalition of interests to create change in this country then no wonder they back Labour leaders who might, like the last shadow chancellor, feel comfortable discussing VAT on replacement windows but ducked big issues like the tax gap.

Or to put it another way, if a debate is to take place, shall we make it about something more than the positioning of deckchairs whilst neoliberalism steams on?

– See more at: http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2015/07/19/the-observers-bankrupt-when-it-comes-to-labour/#sthash.UH3VtZ9Q.dpuf

Facts: The Beneficiaries of the Dangerous Trade Deals – like TTIP

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Dangerous Trade Deals Threatening Democracy and Rights

UNISON have produced a useful document on international trade deals. The European Union is currently negotiating three major trade agreements that could have a profound impact on public services, regulation in the public interest and employment and labour rights. Many people will have heard about TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the EU and the USA but the EU is also negotiating an agreement with Canada, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), and a wider agreement with 23 other countries, the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). Historically trade agreements sought to reduce tariff barriers to trade (taxes on imports). TTIP, CETA and TiSA are different: all three agreements are seeking to liberalise the trade in services, including public services; TTIP and CETA are also treaties seeking to protect the rights of foreign investors; finally TTIP aims to reduce ‘regulatory barriers’ to trade, forcing through a deregulatory agenda.

The EU lack of democracy has been question following recent events. Attention must not be deflected from the secret treaties being hatched between Europe and the US.

These treaties read like a corporate wish-list: secret courts that can sue our governments, the removal of environmental and health regulation and the degradation of working standards.

Who is set to benefit from this?  Hasn’t Big Business had enough their own way? 
Now Revealed: The scary truth about who is writing the terms of TTIP. With TTIP talks happening right now, it’s never been more important to spread the word about big business’ involvement in the deal.  TTIP is a corporate lobbying paradise as the graphics show. More details on this link.

TTIP 1

  • When preparing the mandate for the negotiations on TTIP, and in the first important months of the talks themselves (January 2012 to February 2014), the European Commission’s trade department (DG Trade) had 597 behind-closed-door meetings with lobbyists to discuss the negotiations.

TTIP 4

  • For every meeting with a trade union or an environmental organisation, Malmström and her staff had 5 get together with companies and their lobby groups. (Check the full data and how we gathered it here). The lobby groups with the most such high level meetings on TTIP were the Transatlantic Business Council (representing over 70 EU and US-based multinationals), pharmaceutical lobby group EFPIA (lobbying for pharma giants like Eli Lily, Pfizer, Novartis, and GSK) and the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise.

TTIP 3These are the corporate lobby groups which had by far the most lobby encounters with DG Trade in the preparatory and early phase of the TTIP negotiations (January 2012 to February 2014): BusinessEurope, the European employers’ federation and one of the most powerful lobby groups in the EU.

  • Transatlantic Business Council, a corporate lobby group representing over 70 EU and US-based multinationals.
  • ACEA, the European car lobby (working for BMW, Ford, Renault, and others) which had as many lobby encounters with DG Trade as CEFIC, the European Chemical Industry Council (lobbying for BASF, Bayer, Dow, and the like).
  • European Services Forum, a lobby outfit banding together large services companies and federations such as Deutsche Bank, Telefónica, and TheCityUK, with the same amount as lobby encounters as EFPIA, Europe’s largest pharmaceutical industry association (representing some of the biggest and most powerful pharma companies in the world such as GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Astra Zeneca, Novartis, Sanofi, and Roche).
  • FoodDrinkEurope, the biggest EU food industry lobby group (representing multinationals like Nestlé, Coca Cola, and Unilever).
  • US Chamber of Commerce, the wealthiest of all US corporate lobbies, and DigitalEurope (whose members include all the big IT names, like Apple, Blackberry, IBM, and Microsoft), both with the same amount of lobby encounters with DG Trade.

Check the full list of lobby groups and how we gathered the data here.

TTIP 6

These business sectors had most meetings behind closed doors with DG Trade when the TTIP negotiations were being prepared and after negotiations started (January 2012 to February 2014):

  1. Agribusiness and food, including multinationals like Nestlé, Mondelez (formerly Kraft Foods), and Cargill as well as numerous lobby groups for producers and traders of food, drinks, and animal feed such as FoodDrinkEurope (the EU’s biggest food industry lobby group, representing multinationals like Nestlé, Coca Cola, and Unilever), Eucolait (the dairy traders’ lobby), Clitravi (lobbying for the EU meat processing industry), Spirits Europe (working for alcohol producers such as Bacardi-Martine and Pernod-Ricard) and FEFAC (the animal feed lobby).
  2. Lobby groups representing multiple business sectors such as the European employers’ federation BusinessEurope (one of the most powerful lobby groups in the EU), the US Chamber of Commerce (the wealthiest of all US corporate lobbies), the Transatlantic Business Council (representing over 70 EU and US-based multinationals) and national industry federation such as the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the Federation of German Industries (BDI).
  3. Telecommunication and IT, including giant corporations such as IBM, Telefónica, Nokia, Google, and Ericsson as well as industry lobby groups such as DigitalEurope (whose members include all the big IT names, like Apple, Blackberry, IBM, and Microsoft).
  4. Pharmaceuticals, including direct lobbying of large pharmaceutical companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson, Roche and Pfizer as well as lobby groups such as EFPIA (the European pharmaceutical lobby working for pharma giants like Eli Lily, Pfizer, Novartis, and GlaxoSmithKline) and its US sister organisation PhRMA (lobbying largely for the same companies).
  5. Finance, with lobbying by some of the world’s largest banks and insurers (including Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, HSBC, Allianz, and Citigroup) and powerful financial sector lobby groups such as the Association of German Banks (BDB), Insurance Europe (Europe’s main insurance lobby), and TheCityUK (promoting the interests of the UK-based financial industry).
  6. Engineering and machinery, including manufacturing behemoths such as Siemens, Alstom, and General Electric as well as industry federations such as Orgalime (lobbying for the mechanical, electrical and metalworking sectors) and the German Engineering Federation VDMA.
  7. Automobiles, with some of the most powerful car brands (including Ford, Daimler, and BMW) and automotive suppliers such as tyre producer Michelin, as well as industry lobby groups such as ACEA (representing Europe’s car, van, truck, and bus manufacturers) and the German automotive industry association VDA.
  8. Health technology, with, for example, Eucomed (representing the medical technology industry in Europe, including large corporations such as Siemens and Procter & Gamble), Cocir (lobbying for “medical imaging, health ICT and electromedical” companies such as IBM, Samsung, Orange, and Agfa healthcare “to open markets… in Europe and beyond”).
  9. Chemicals, including CEFIC (the EU’s biggest chemical industry lobby group, representing BASF, Bayer, Dow, and others) and its US counterpart, the American Chemistry Council ACC (also lobbying for BASF, Bayer, Dow, and others), the Germany industry federation VCI and direct lobbying by chemical giants such as Dow.
  10. Express & logistics, including direct lobbying by companies such as Deutsche Post DHL, UPS, Fedex and industry associations such as the European Express Association (lobbying for the same companies).

Check the full data and how we categorised it here.

ttip-lobby-pharma

Several industry sectors have significantly boosted their lobbying efforts for TTIP:

  • The pharmaceutical sector has increased its TTIP lobbying seven-fold. While only 2.4% of DG Trade’s one-to-one lobby meetings on TTIP were with big pharma in the preparatory phase of the negotiations (January 2012 to March 2013), the sector’s share in lobby meetings jumped to 16.5% in the period after (April 2013 to February 2014).
  • The engineering and machinery sector has tripled its TTIP lobbying effort in the same period – from 3.0% to 9.5% of the behind-closed-doors meetings with DG Trade.
  • TTIP lobbying by banks, insurers, and other financial market actors has doubled, from a 5.1% share in the total amount of corporate lobby meetings in the preparatory phase of the negotiations to 10.8% in the period after.

Check the full data and how we gathered it here.

That big pharma and finance have stepped up their lobbying for TTIP is particularly worrying. The pharmaceutical sector is pushing for a TTIP agenda with potentially severe implications for access to medicines and public health.

While the corporate agenda for TTIP is broad and often issue-specific, big business is united in what it wants to see at the core of the agreement: excessive rights for foreign investors and regulatory cooperation. These issues would further skew EU and US politics in favour of capital and transnational corporations and threaten any future regulation that limits big business profits – be it in food standards, chemicals approval, or rules on production methods, to name but a few.

 On top of that, TTIP’s investment protection chapter would empower thousands of businesses on both sides of the Atlantic to legally attack decisions made by national parliaments, governments, and even courts if they undermine corporate profits.

(See our analysis of the proposed investor rights in TTIP here or watch our video on the issue here.)

TTIP 8

  • The preparatory and early phases of the TTIP negotiations were largely driven by businesses with headquarters in the US, Germany, and the UK and by industry lobby groups organised at the EU level such as BusinessEurope

TTIP 7

  • One in every 5 corporate lobby groups which have lobbied DG Trade on TTIP (80 out of 372 corporate actors), are not registered in the EU’s Transparency Register, amongst them large companies such as Maersk, AON, and Levi’s. Industry associations such as the world’s largest biotechnology lobby BIO, US pharmaceutical lobby group PhrMA, and the American Chemical Council are also lobbying under the radar. More than one third of all US companies and industry associations which have lobbied DG Trade on TTIP (37 out of 91) are not in the EU register. (see the full data and how we gathered it here)
  • There are two serious flaws of the EU’s Transparency Register: first, it is voluntary, which leaves companies and lobby groups free to avoid appearing in it – as many do. Second, disclosure requirements are limited as registrants are, for example, not obliged to report exactly which specific issues they lobby on (such as TTIP).

It is very clear why these treaties must be stopped.

A UN official has spoken out about the secretive TTIP deal, warning of “a dystopian future in which corporations call the shots instead of democracies”, and highlighting significant fears about human rights abuses should the deal go through.

We don’t have much time left before the talks finish for this stage of TTIP. And we urgently need to ramp up the pressure: US politicians just voted in favour of making it much easier for Obama to sign them up to big trade deals like TTIP. The ordinary people of the EU and the US are increasingly the last line of defence against the trade deal.

A whopping 2.3 million of us have already signed up to oppose the devastating TTIP deal — will you add your voice and tell the European Commission to stand up for democracy?  Coalition website for the ECI Stop TTIP

Please share! And you can sign the self-organised European Citizens’ Initiative here: http://bit.ly/1w7tdLp

(Addendum:  The US are also negotiating the TransPacific Partnership or TPP with Pacific-rim countries.  The TPP and TTIP, together form a single market which would essentially include ‘everyone but China’ and encompass about 69% of all global trade.  Many including the economist, James Galbraith, contend that these Western trade agreements are not about trade at all, but more like an attempt to take-over and control the foreign country’s economy on behalf of the transnational corporations.  Is this the start of a new cold war with financial weapons of mass destruction?  Are these trade deals the instruments by which the US intends to enforce its global hegemony against the threat of increasing Chinese power?)