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Protest, Norwich Job Centre

Protest, Norwich Job Centre
Fatso Gets Militant!

Monday, 2 February 2015


I recently wrote to my MEP about TTIP. I thought it would be useful to post his response here. He's one of the goodies.

" Dear Mike Llywelyn Cox

Thank you for getting in touch. I wanted to respond to your email to
offer reassurance and clarification in relation to my and Labour’s
position on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). I
am sorry for the delay in replying.

There are a number of trade agreements being negotiated between the
European Union and third countries, all of which have the potential to
boost jobs at home but which at the same time have to be assessed on how
far they protect social and environmental standards, workers' rights and
fair trade for developing countries.

The "TTIP" agreement with the United States would be by far the largest
of these agreements and the potential gains and costs are consequently
equally very significant. As the deal would govern almost half the
world's trade, it would also be likely to set a template for other such
deals worldwide - so it is again very important that we get it right.

The negotiations over TTIP are ongoing and it is very unlikely that they
will be completed before May 2015. Therefore it is important to note
that the deal would have to be agreed by a future Government (alongside
all Governments of EU countries) as well as being voted in the European

As you are aware, I have long campaigned on corporate accountability and
against separate legal provisions for the rights of investors than for
worker and environmental rights, which I believe need to be addresses
equally. Therefore, my personal position is that any investor disputes
arising from the agreement should be addressed to the courts like any
other dispute and there is no case for inclusion in TTIP of the Investor
State Dispute Settlement Clause (ISDS) but the position of the Front
Bench at Westminster is to express concern about ISDS, to say the
ability of governments to promote public policy should be protected but
not to reject ISDS altogether.

On the issue of the National Health Service I can be categorical that
neither myself nor my Labour colleagues in the European Parliament would
support TTIP if there was any question that it could lead to
privatisation of the NHS or inclusion of the NHS at any level.

First and foremost, every national Government has a right to put a
"national reserve" on any trade agreement, which means the Government
has the full right simply to add a clause exempting the NHS. As at
present, any privatisation of the NHS can only happen because a Tory-led
Government wants it to.

Nevertheless, I will join my Labour MEP colleagues to seek to influence
the agreement at a European level for the protection of all public
services. TTIP will include either a 'positive list', which will state
everything the agreement applies to, and everything not on the list will
be assumed excluded, or it will have a 'negative list', which will only
name specific exclusions.  I will join my Labour MEP colleagues in
seeking to secure positive list approach, which will give absolute
certainty in the defence of public services not just in health.

You have my absolute guarantee that I and my Labour colleagues will not
support a TTIP agreement that includes the NHS.


Richard Howitt MEP"

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The Tough Tenor (when I could walk)!

In a Mellotone

In a Mellotone
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