TTIP is an attack on democracy

Tonight I spoke against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement (“TTIP”) at Bolton Council. Cllr Morris, the Leader of the Council, put forward a motion asking the Council to write to the Government for an “impact study” on the effects of TTIP on local government.

In my speech, I stated my opposition to TTIP but also urged my fellow Councillors to vote against the motion, as it would do absolutely nothing.

The full text of my speech is below.

Madam Mayor,

While I appreciate the spirit of this motion, its application is sadly doomed from the start. The Leader has admitted in it that our MPs have not seen the wording of the TTIP agreement – in fact, all we know about it is from leaks and bare bones Freedom of Information request answers. So I have to question how MPs are supposed to produce an “impact assessment” without any information? They can’t, and that’s the point.

TTIP is an attack on democracy. The Leader, or maybe it’s his Trade Unions here, are rightly concerned about the effects TTIP will have on the work of the Council. It’s clear that International State Dispute Settlements (“ISDS”es) will be a big problem for us, as they are¬†already being a problem for Germany with its being sued by Swedish power companies following a decision to reduce the number of nuclear power plants there.

I have major concerns that, once property developers work out that there’s a new, more favourable to them process for countering our planning refusals, then we will be overwhelmed. We can’t afford that.

So while I approve of the spirit of the motion, sadly it’s clear that its goals cannot be reached. As such, it is clearly something we should not be taking forward; as it serves only to take up Government time that, now more than ever, needs to be focussed elsewhere.

I must therefore vote against this motion and I urge my colleagues to do the same.