Event at Southend Green, Hampstead, to protest against CETA & TTIP organised by Global Justice Now London Action Network and #noTTIP, with the support of War on Want.
This event is on Saturday, October 15th from 11am until 3pm at Southend Green NW3 2QE, very near to the Royal Free Hospital , Hampstead.
This protest event is happening in conjunction with a number of other demonstrations against CETA taking place on the same day in Paris , Madrid , Barcelona , Sevilla, and elsewhere across Europe .
CETA is a trade deal being negotiated between the EU and Canada which poses a major threat to our democracy, public services and the environment. Like TTIP, CETA could have wide-ranging effects on our lives. If ratified, CETA would:
- Allow corporations to sue governments in secret offshore courts for making laws to protect their citizens
- Hand multinationals a greater role in making new regulation and thereby risk sparking a race to the bottom in standards for important areas like food safety and environmental regulation
- Lock in privatisation of services. CETA includes a ‘rachet’ clause which only allows governments to move in the direction of privatisation
- Remove protection for key UK products like Cornish pasties or Cumberland sausages
- Enable companies involved in shale gas extractiont sue the UK government. This could well be the case if any local authorities were to turn down planning applications for fracking., as has already happened in the iSDS case of Lone Pine vs. Quebec .
We have chosen to demonstrate near the Royal Free Hospital as we are very worried about the creeping tendency to privatise the NHS. In some parts of the country hospitals are already run by Virgin. CETA will mean that it is not only easier for private companies to bid for NHS services but it will be impossible for governments to stop private companies winning these contracts without suffering legal and financial consequences.
This is because of one of the most insidious parts of CETA called the ICS (investment court system) –
formerly known as the ISDS – a system of parallel justice, where international corporations will be able to sue Governments for any laws they make that effect corporations ability to make profits. These courts are held in secret and there is no right of appeal. CETA will also mean that governments have to allow private corporations to bid on services like the NHS and are therefore not allowed to protect important public services from being taken over by private companies.
If privatised parts of the NHS were to be bought back into public ownership, then the UK Government could be sued under the ICS system for billions of pounds. The same applies for railways, the education system, and any other public services.
We are demonstrating along with people all over Europe . The reason for this wave of demonstrations is that on October 18th the European Commission is meeting in Luxemburg to decide whether to approve CETA or not. If this is approved, then CETA will be signed at the EU-Canada Summit on October 27th
However, there has been no public debate either in the House of Commons or in the UK media on CETA. This is despite the fact that over 3 million Europeans voted against TTIP and CETA in the European Citizens Initiative including of which 500.000 were from the UK .
On September 17th this year the fact that 340,000 in Germany and Austria were on the streets against CETA and TTIP, there was hardly any mention of this in the British media.
In addition there was a public consultation by the European Commission on Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) which was opposed by 97% of respondents.
We feel that this very toxic trade deal is being negotiated in secret without proper public and parliamentary scrutiny. If the public knew the risks that CETA posed to the NHS, democracy and our country they to would be very worried.