By AM Poppy .
I spent ninety minutes this morning on our high street shouting sweetly to all the passersby: “May I give you a leaflet on TTIP? We’re raising awareness today!” A satisfying proportion of people took a leaflet – but what will they think when they read it?*
They will find, in a nutshell, that TTIP will herald the end of democracy. The leaflets are cogently argued and based entirely on fact. But there has been barely any mention of it in the media. (I’m only aware of one Guardian columnist and one mention on the BBC’s World at One on a Saturday). So I put myself in the shopper’s position skimming the leaflet while unpacking their plastic bags, and find an apocalyptic prediction in a leaflet. What would I think – here is a dangerous threat I must face up to, or this is conspiracy lunacy?
Our MP, Theresa Villiers, knows it’s true. She’s called it “a once in a lifetime opportunity” (you can see her letter on my personal blog).
She’s right – it’s a once-and-for-all power grab by the corporations, being negotiated by civil servants behind closed doors in the context of international law that is not used to being handled in the open, unlike treaties that are negotiated by politicians and diplomats in the public eye.
When I get back home, the news headline is about a sick boy who is probably in the Pyrenees on his way to Spain with his parents and six siblings. The news item is dominated by the phrase “it’s unclear" – why his parents took him away from the hospital; whether his feeding tube’s battery has run out; whether a new battery can be found; or where the family is”. Is that news? Meanwhile, TTIP is nowhere in the bulletin at all.
We are being steamrollered by the corporate juggernaut. And the appalling shame of it is that it’s happening without us knowing about it!
The Tories have always been the corporates’ party. Where is the Labour party’s protest at the threat to workers’ rights? Where is the Lib Dems' clamour against the erosion of civil liberties that this brings?
Where is the media whose job it is to tell us what the politicians don’t want us to know? My challenge to every journalist and editor in the country is this: how do you justify your news priorities, your salary, and your professionalism while keeping under wraps the greatest threat to democracy that we face?
We Greens, trades unionists and anti-austerity campaigners were out there today spreading the word, but as the researcher David Malone has said: “Get it – the nation/state has collapsed. The state no longer works for the nation. The state has been bought by big money”. I’m fighting it. What are you doing?
* TTIP = the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Find much more online