While attention is focussed on Jeremy Hunt's changes to junior Doctor's contracts, an existential threat to the NHS is largely being ignored. TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership, is currently being negotiated in secret talks between the EU and the United States. This agreement will open up the UK's public services, including the NHS, to private American companies.
TTIP is about making life easier for big business. Things like food safety law, environmental legislation, banking regulations and public services should not come before profit. Little detail has leaked out from the secret TTIP negotiations, but we do know that it will allow private American companies to sue the UK government over legislation or actions that disadvantage their business. Decisions will be made on the NHS with one eye on avoiding paying damages to disgruntled multi-nationals.
The UK government has no say in this negotiation. As a member of the EU, we are barred from negotiating trade deals with other countries. Our trade deals are negotiated for us by an unelected bureaucrat representing the often competing interests of 27 other countries, currently a Swedish politics lecturer, Cecilia Malmstrom.
Over 3.4 million people across Europe have signed a petition to stop TTIP. But as Ms Malmstrom herself has said, “I do not take my mandate from the European people”.
It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others. If you don't like the current government's handling of the NHS, vote for another party. If you don't want the UK to be included in TTIP, if you don't want private US companies suing the UK government for access to our public services, then your only option is to vote to leave the EU in the upcoming referendum. If we vote to remain in the EU, TTIP will become a reality and there will be nothing that you, I or the elected UK government can do about it.
Democracy, EU style: