Scare stories. And TTIP.

TTIP-map

There seems to be an unhelpful (if inadvertent) alignment between the interests of the green lobby (or as Owen Paterson aptly describes it, the “Green Blob”) on the one hand, and the tabloid press on the other.  Both thrive on scare stories, and promote them in an uncritical way.  For the press, scares sell papers.  For the Green Blob, the scares justify their existence, buy them airtime, and keep the contributions coming in from the gullible.

The big daddy of current scare stories is, of course, Global Warming (or as we have to call it in these days, when there hasn’t been any warming for eighteen years, “Climate Change”).  Maurice Strong was one of the prime movers of the climate scam, and he is on record as saying: In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that …. the threat of global warming would fit the bill ….. the real enemy then is humanity itself …..we believe humanity requires a common motivation, namely a common adversary in order to realise world government. It does not matter if this common enemy is a real one or …..one invented for the purpose.”

Clearly he was simply using the threat of AGW to push a particular world view.

But there are other scares.  The green lobby and the media have picked up the minor problems associated with shale gas operations and blown them up into a monster which appears to have terrified most of the Home Counties, and large parts of the North West — despite the clear fact that shale gas is cleaner and safer than (say) coal mining.

Then there’s the GMO argument, with the greens forecasting doom and destruction from GM crops — “Frankenstein foods” — despite the fact that we’ve all eaten GM produce, and eaten meat that’s been raised on GM soya, for decades, without any identifiable harm.  All the green campaign is doing is to shut Europe out of a vital new agricultural technology which the rest of the world is enthusiastically embracing.

A minor but damaging example is that of palm oil.  The greens appear to have convinced themselves that palm oil represents an existential threat to the orang-utang.  This is simply not the case — I was seeing orang-utangs in Sarawak just a few weeks ago.  And both Indonesia and Malaysia (the primary sources of palm oil) have very comprehensive policies in place to protect the forests and the apes’ habitat.  Nonetheless the concern for the orangs is transmogrified into a series of unjustified scare stories about the health benefits and risks of palm oil.  Palm oil is more or less ubiquitous in both processed food products and in toiletries, and the green campaign is reprehensible, doing damage to developing countries seeking to provide rural employment.

And then there’s TTIP — the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership, currently under negotiation.  A couple of days ago, I got a frantic text from a UKIP candidate.  “There’s a spat on Twitter — they say you voted for TTIP!”.

Of course TTIP is in an early stage of negotiation.  At this stage no one knows what will be in it, and it’s strange to see people taking up entrenched positions on a deal that doesn’t yet exist.  Yet its opponents are perfectly happy to assert, as if it were fact, exactly the damage they fear.

Let me put in a caveat: we in UKIP would far rather see a bilateral UK/USA free trade agreement — indeed but for the EU, I suspect we should have had such an agreement decades ago.  But right now, sadly, we are in the EU, and until we get out, the only USA FTA on the table is TTIP.  And we in UKIP are in favour of free trade in principle.  Free trade means jobs and prosperity and growth.

There is nothing new in free trade deals.  The EU has such deals, or is negotiating them, with a majority of the countries in the world.  The EU/Korea trade deal raised serious concerns, not least in the European auto industry.  But the deal seems to be working out rather well, and (perhaps surprisingly) more to the benefit of the EU than of Korea — though I believe it’s a win-win deal from which both parties will benefit over time.

(In case you’re worried about where we stand on these deals when we leave the EU — they will be grandfathered.  Don’t believe the scaremongers who naïvely assert that we lose those benefits on Brexit).

So my position is clear: we should be in favour of a transatlantic trade deal, provided the terms are right.  And therefore we should be in favour of the current negotiations (while regretting that the UK interest is represented currently via Brussels).

The two main concerns of the opposition are NHS and ISDS.  On the NHS we can be very clear: the EU is not proposing, and UKIP would not accept, any deal that represented any threat to the NHS.

On ISDS — the “Investor/State Dispute Settlement” procedure — the position is less clear.  Opponents say it enables mega-corporations to ride rough-shod over the democratic will of independent countries.  What it in fact does is to enable companies to call states to account if those states fail to deliver on the treaties they have entered into.  Sovereign democratic nations have an absolute right to sign up — or not sign up — to international agreements.  But if we believe in the rule of law, they should then stick to those agreements, and if in failing to stick to them they disadvantage citizens, or commercial interests, then I can’t see a problem if those disadvantaged citizens or commercial interests seek redress.

Clearly these are areas we need to watch closely, and UKIP will be at the forefront of opposition if we believe that our national interests are threatened (though as long as we’re in the EU, we may not be able to stop any proposed deal).  But we believe that transatlantic free trade offers major benefits to jobs, growth and prosperity, and we will not join the blind, knee-jerk opposition to TTIP before we know what’s in the text.

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28 Responses to Scare stories. And TTIP.

  1. Ex-expat Colin says:

    What could possibly go wrong…or right?

    Mr Farage was’t too pleased with the NHS in the D. Teleg this morning. Certainly something very severe has to happen to the NHS and its not more money. There is good stuuf there, but its riddled with problems and as Farage says, why can’t we praise and criticise it without getting accused of either one of the media’s narky binary attitudes.

    Despite all these happy moments/prospects, the BBC last week in its lengthy tirade of climate babble informs us (via CGI + a bit of horror) that a Tsunami is coming our way (UK). Another University expert showing some evidence around Las Palmas. Oh, it is a bit volcanic there…to say the very least

    I hope Clarkson achieves the aim of sucking in the N. London BBC loony lefties to an almighty exposure aka p*ss take. They have really gone for it.

  2. Anne Palmer says:

    You write Roger. “Let me put in a caveat: we in UKIP would far rather see a bilateral UK/USA free trade agreement — indeed but for the EU, I suspect we should have had such an agreement
    decades ago.” At this moment in time, I understood we do indeed “Speak for ourselves” on this matter of trade with the mighty USA?

    If any British Government accepts this proposed ‘Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership’, in which the European Union would SPEAK for ALL its Member States on ALL matters of trade and for all time coming, there is absolutely no point at all in having ANYONE in those two Houses of Parliament. There will be no need either of UKIP for what indeed could UKIP do about it? UKIP’s time for Government is NOW-not in a few years time. We should indeed have UK/USA free trade agreement (Isn’t that what we have now?) for there is no point in voting for ANYONE if they cannot “SPEAK FOR THEM SELVES in ALL matters. If other countries want foreigners to “SPEAK” for them, so be it, but those we elect here in the UK should speak on our behalf in matters like this-after they have put it to the people in a referendum if they want foreigners in the EU to speak on behalf of ALL THOSE IN OUR HOUSES OF PARLIAMEN, WHICH MAY WELL BE FOREVER OR UNTILL THERE IS ANOTHER WORLD WAR.

    • Roger Helmer MEP says:

      No Anne. I’m afraid we don’t speak for ourselves — and haven’t done for 42 years. The EU has the exclusive right under the treaties to negotiate and agree trade arrangements. But remember that TTIP isn’t unique — there are already dozens of such deals in place, or under negotiation, like the Korea FTA which I mention above.

      • Anne says:

        The TTIP is a Treaty in itself and has to be accepted by Government before it can be of any use. It is time a British Government said “NO” especially to this TTIP. I repeat again, this once GREAT country that so many gave their lives for in that last WAR-which I remember very well indeed for we were indeed bombed out- It can and should be rejected. Having written that, UKIP should shout with full force against it, especially NOW with the coming General Election-with loud voices-not just repeating what we know already. Make the case against the EU speaking for ALL its member states in this matter of deciding what we must have. What is the point in voting for ANYONE to sit in those Houses of Parliament when they cannot prevent such as the proposed TTIP. Are they there just to fill up those two Houses, or just to pick up their pay and vast expenses? Is that what you believe? It is not why WE put our cross against their names for. They should be required to put the TTIP TREATY before the people. UKIP should also be demanding that they do so. I ask of you WHY is UKIP making it so EASY for our Government just to accept TTIP?

      • clairethinker says:

        I still don’t understand why our Parliament went through the motions of debating it. If we don’t yet know what ‘s in it and have no power to change it anyway, what is the point?

  3. martinbrumby says:

    At present I am in New Zealand to see the Grandkids.
    There is a big Greenie kerfuffle going on here about another free trade project, this time the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement. All the usual tree-hugger suspects are campaigning against TPPA, although it seems still unclear what the final proposed text will be. But, if it is a trade agreement including the USA, it must be bad, right? Whatever the benefits to New Zealand, they can’t have the USA benefitting! And complaints couched in anti-american racist language that, in the UK, should (but probably wouldn’t, unless in was Pakistan being abused) have them in court!
    But I particularly enjoy the bare faced hypocrisy of these characters. There at the gate a big “No Drilling!” placard. (To which one might add “No Energy, No Economy, No Jobs and No Hope!”). And then you notice that just up the driveway there is the biggest SUV you’ve ever seen with a jet-ski in the back, also a sport car and a massive BMW motorbike! No doubt all powered by moonbeams and unicorn farts. Greenies. You’ve gotta love ’em!

  4. clairethinker says:

    Why do you think our MPs bothered to debate TTIP? Have they got any power to influence what is in it or whether it is imposed, sorry! bestowed, on us?
    There is a very widespread rumour that TTIP will enable EU member states to sell off their nationalised health services. What are the origins of this rumour and is it well-founded or not?

    • Roger Helmer MEP says:

      To be honest, Claire, I think Martin Brumby (above) has it right. There is a constituency out there that just hates America, so if it’s a deal with America, we have to fight it. We have to tell lies and make up scare stories. I’m not aware of any proposed provisions in TTIP that would have the effect of requiring the denationalisation of health services, and in the event such a proposal is put forward, we’ll be agin it.

      • clairethinker says:

        Thanks. tIf so here are definitely networks out there spreading unnecessary scare stories.

  5. Anne says:

    What is the point of a National Government when the EU speaks for all 28 States? I write of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)

    The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is the name of a trade agreement that is being negotiated between the European Union and the United States. The negotiations aim at removing trade barriers (tariffs, unnecessary regulations, restrictions on investment etc.) in a wide range of economic sectors so as to make it easier to buy and sell goods and services between the EU AND THE US. The EU and US also want to make it easier for their companies to invest in each other’s economy. (Will the next TTIP be between Australia, Japan, ETC? By all Commonwealth Countries in future? Will we have no voice of our own?) Inm fact, what will be the point in having ANYONE in that House of Commons for the EU headquarters weill be our spokesperson for the UK-forever?

    Research states that “an EU-US investment treaty would impose costs on the UK to the extent that it prevents the UK government from regulating in the public interest.”

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm140225/debtext/140225-0002.htm#14022578000001
    The above is indeed a Treaty, so WHY hasn’t this NEW TREATY been put forward before the people of this Country? Why is the EU ratifying TREATIES on our Behalf? I ask again, what is the point in having ANYONE in those two Houses of parliament if the EU is going to “SPEAK” for this Country in all matters-forever.

    • Roger Helmer MEP says:

      Because we signed the Treaty of Rome which enables Brussels to do so. Get this clear, Anne. We gave up the right to negotiate trade terms in 1973, (or our parliament did), and we won’t get it back until Brexit.

      • Anne says:

        The people of TODAY did not sign the Treaty of Rome or agreed to it, It was HEATH that agreed to that Treaty, plus when the people agreed in that REFERENDUM in 1975 they were told a deliberate lie by Heath in that, “There would be no loss of essential Sovereignty” if the people agreed to remain in the then EEC. There is/was absolutely no need for any future Government to ratify any EEC/EC/EU Treaties that followed that Treaty of Rome. You are indeed quite right Roger when you write, “Or our Parliament did” and this is why it is so very important to make sure we fill that House of Commons in the coming General Election with as many members of UKIP as we can. I would like to see it full to the brim with UKIP-and I am not even in UKIP but I am fully aware of what it means to go to WAR to proect this GREAT Country of ours.

      • clairethinker says:

        Anne: you say you are not even in UKIP. Well it sounds as if you ought to join! You are absolutely right that it is outrageous, the way that we have been tricked out of our basic right to govern ouselves.

  6. Anne says:

    A War to End all Wars. 9.4.2014. Part 6

    I remember well that last terrible World War
    From Nineteen-Thirty-nine to forty-five
    When the bombs rained down upon us
    When to the shelters we went, to stay alive.
    To listen to the long speeches of Churchill,
    That, “Outside, the storms of war may blow,
    And the lands may be lashed with the fury of its gales”.
    Such inspiring words all of us so needed to know.

    Huddled up to the “wireless” to listen
    To every word Winston Churchill said,
    “We must not underrate the gravity”
    Oh so many times his words we read.
    He has gone down in UK History
    As the greatest Prime Minister of all,
    Oh, how we need the likes of him now,
    For our Country is heading for a fall.

    The blackest, treacherous Day of all for us,
    Although we didn’t know it, at the time,
    That there would be “no loss of essential Sovereignty”,
    When that Prime Minister told that treacherous lie.
    The deep betrayal “TODAY” by those we freely elect
    To keep secret the carefully planned T.T.I. P
    When strangers decide that our once free Country
    Will never again, ever be “FREE”.

  7. Alan Wheatley says:

    Please explain “grandfathered”.

    • I couldn’t get it either.

    • Ex-expat Colin says:

      Defaults to an earlier rule…goes back to what existed before the new club rules were placed. Business as was usual?

    • Roger Helmer MEP says:

      Rather than start negotiations all over again, we would agree that initially the terms from the old EU Treaty would continue to apply to bilateral trade. But after Brexit we should of course be free to renegotiate on our own behalf if we saw benefit in doing so.

  8. Alan Wheatley says:

    One of the problems of waiting until you know what is in the text is that once a position has been created with the formality of being written down in a document, even one that is only a draft, it becomes far more difficult to change. For a start the draft will only exist because agreement has been reached by a significant number of stakeholders, probably by a majority. It is much easier to prevent something disliked before it gets formal publication.

    There has to be a phase prior to a first draft. There must be an objective, or more likely a collection of objectives. It should be possible to take a position on what being sought and to support or oppose, and thereby influence what gets put into a first draft.

    Free Trade is a principle well worth supporting, but, as ever, the devil is in the detail, and one person’s “free trade” may be another’s undermining of national sovereignty.

    • Roger Helmer MEP says:

      A great deal of work has been done to get assurances on NHS & ISDS at an early stage. The Commission knows there will be ructions if it fails to keep this in mind.

  9. Ex-expat Colin says:

    European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has announced she will visit Cuba later this month.

    Thats foreign policy…not foreign trade and real stuff that brings back money from a place thats on its knees. They’ll get aid for windmills/solar panels before Obama can flog some out of date junk I suspect.

    Can’t she phone or Skype…keep the austerity going and spend, spend, spend.

    Yep..I need some good cigars as well?

  10. Ex-expat Colin says:

    Royal Society – A Short Guide to Climate Science (for the plebs…higher energy bills)

    If anybody has not read this …perhaps you should. I am astonished at this piece:

    About this briefing
    “In December 2014 the Royal Society published A Short Guide to Climate Science, a layman’s
    introduction to the key issues in the subject. The guide was accompanied by a
    video and was widely reported in the media.The authors who wrote the guide were not identified. Nor were the members of the Royal Society asked whether they endorsed it or not. So in referring to it herein as the ‘Royal Society’ guide we only mean to indicate who published it. We have no way
    of knowing how many Royal Society Fellows actually agree with it”.

    At the GWPF site and challenged:

    http://www.thegwpf.org/content/uploads/2015/03/Shortguide.pdf

  11. Roger – what do you think of the Norwegian Option?
    It seems to me that without a coherent plan for how we leave the EU, Ukip is doomed.

    • clairethinker says:

      I have always believed that if we simply stop paying our contributions to the EU, our membership thereby elapses. We remain members of the Council of Europe, unless we openly defy a decision of the ECHR (not a bad idea really)

    • Roger Helmer MEP says:

      NO NO NO, Mike! Norway as a small country peripheral to the EU is partly subject to EU rules. Our starting position is that we are an independent nation. All we want in relation to Europe is a free trade deal and voluntary intergovernmental cooperation. Too many people talk about Norway & Switzerland (which has free movement, by the way — a key thing we want to avoid). You ask for a coherent plan: what about a great global trading nation, behaving like other great global trading nations?

    • Ex-expat Colin says:

      I’ve never understood why UK has to mimic any other country. UK has to operate on its own terms with the the individual entities existing. And that must be to the full advantage of the UK otherwise we could not pay our way…like now.

      But it appears the physco belief system that pervades is apparently good for us. Never mind that its dragging us toward further debt and conflict.

      Redwood this morning…Why does the IMF lend lots of money to Ukraine?
      http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2015/03/16/the-imf-lends-lots-of-money-to-ukraine/

  12. Anne says:

    Well worth looking at this site. This is Important, and WHY haven’t we been told any of this!
    http://linkis.com/wordpress.com/rQck4

  13. Marc says:

    How can you argue for the rule of law, when the ISDS would promote the private settlement of disputes outside of citizen scrutiny? You can’t have it both ways. With ISDS it seems, you either want democracy and state sovereignty (terms UKIP people love to espouse), or unfettered corporate influence.

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