Now Mittens doesn’t usually like to get involved with politics. But TTIP, she told me – along with similar trade deals TTP and CETA – really gets her back up. Makes her twitchy, she said. I know exactly what she means.
Inspired by her rather vocal demonstration from our balcony last week, I thought I’d look for local groups to team up with in the fight against plans for these end-of-the-world-generating deals. Nothing’s come up yet; messages to environmental groups here in Spain haven’t yet been answered. Another option is to visit the area around the massive rock Mittens can see from the balcony, Gibraltar. We looked into who its representatives are to find out where they’re at with the TTIP.
Julie Girling and Ashley Fox are two of the MEPs responsible for this British Overseas Territory, and their views on TTIP have been recorded here. What shocked us was the way they talk about ‘trade’. It’s an innocuous word, on the surface. Trading is good, how else do we get the things we need? But it quickly becomes apparent, reading this and other accounts by TTIP’s proponents, that trade is the highest good. Not solving poverty, not human rights, not caring for the environment and other species. Just trade. More international trade – yes! Even though any pussycat could tell you that the import and export of stuff creates greater carbon emissions than stuff you make at home. Another ‘benefit’ is reduced tariffs for businesses. For tariffs, read tax, of course. Thinking about these sorts of plans, it starts to make sense about all those huge companies paying hardly any tax – it’s by design and will only get worse if TTIP goes through. And both these Conservative MEPs say that the UK will gain £10bn a year: “That is an extra £400 to every UK household.”
Just to take that one point, is that £400 going to actually go to your “household”? A similar trade deal between the USA and Mexico left the USA with less jobs and Mexico poorer. Even if the conservative government stopped by and gave £400 to you and yours, what would you be getting for that? Pretty much this:
I worry about the effect of corporations being able to sue governments, and how this could impact on our already less than ideal democracies. Mittens’ greatest concern is about food quality. She’s so fussy! She says she really doesn’t like the idea of genetically modified anything, chlorinated chicken, hormone-treated beef or anything funny happening to the fish. I’m inclined to agree with her; I’ve been nervous to go to the US lately because of the food quality, and I dread to think of those kinds of standards spreading to Europe, where we’ve been at least partly sheltered from them so far (I don’t trust the soya milk anymore as it’s impossible to tell what’s GM and what isn’t – that’s the other thing, the pro-GM lobby works to remove such information from food labels).
Until we can find some groups to team up with, Mittens and I will just have to riot on our own. And we won’t stop, cos in terms of the things we need to hold back, this is just about the biggest deal there is.
Oh and if any of your pets want to demonstrate solidarity with our struggle, please send us the photos!