My letter to the Carluke and Lanark Gazette, printed on Wednesday 6th May, 2015.
A copy of the text is below the fold.
I note with some interest John Swinney’s recent announcement that he extends a “cautious welcome” towards the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) currently being negotiated, behind closed doors and without public scrutiny, between the EU and USA.
Mr Swinney shares my concern that TTIP could open the NHS and other public services to aggressive takeover by private companies; would compromise stringent EU health and safety regulations by “harmonising” them with the traditionally more lax American laws; would open our food markets to American genetically modified organisms or to food produced using excessive or potentially unsafe pesticides, chemical and hormone treatments currently illegal under currently comparatively stringent EU environmental regulations and could pave the way to hostile and costly lawsuits by unscrupulous corporations if we try to enact any legislation to protect ourselves. The instances of countries being sued in this way for trying to increase their minimum wage or improving tobacco regulations should be considered a particular warning signal in this last regard.
Mr Swinney has offered his “welcome” contingent on all of the above being removed from the final TTIP bill. The trouble is, without them it is hard to understand what would be left inside it.
I would like, therefore, to invite Mr Swinney to join with the Scottish Greens and a substantial proportion of his own party’s expanded membership to publicly oppose TTIP and to use what influence his party may gain in this coming Parliament to signal that the UK will vote against TTIP when asked to do so.