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TTIP: The extraordinary rendition of Britain

It is delusional to think that any body other than workers themselves can prevent the extraordinary rendition of Britain that TTIP represents – of our NHS, state education, railways and utilities, our trade associations, our H&S Executive, food safety agencies, of national oversight of pharmaceuticals, of our legal and political system.

Under pressure from unions the TUC changed its position at its 2014 conference from compliance to apparent outright opposition, “whilst continuing to monitor progress and press for improvements”. Its composite motion contains contradictions and loopholes such as this, and defends the EU for negotiating on our behalf.

Despite everything, the TUC has not yet abandoned its defeatist view that Britain is nothing in the world without the EU. As for the European Trade Union Confederation position, it is risible: welcoming the treaty while trying to negotiate on everything antithetical to it is like dealing with Genghis Khan, where everything is negotiable except the actual putting to the fire and the sword.

‘Despite everything, the TUC has not yet abandoned its defeatist view that Britain is nothing in the world without the EU.’

We cannot rely on MEPs with their vested interests, nor the Labour Party. All accept the treaty in principle, seduced by the promise of “investment flows” and access to cheap American markets – and anyway in thrall to the idea that “the market” must be allowed to rule.

The 2014 Labour Party conference picked up on the feeble TUC plea for “transparency” and “consultation” on ISDS, insisting that “the principle behind the treaty is to keep or raise standards” and benefit consumers through cheaper goods and services.

Labour’s position is disingenuous if not downright duplicitous: it knows that once TTIP comes before the British parliament there will be no possibility of any meaningful amendment.

The EU remains the elephant in the room. Any querying of the nature of the EU has a disconcerting effect on trade unionists and politicians with a vested interest in it. Composed as it is of governments that have already surrendered their own authority, the EU is the perfect conduit for corporate takeover of nations – finance capitalism’s last desperate bid for survival.

TTIP is a creature of the EU. Our continued membership of it is the cause of our travails. We should get out, build an independent Britain and control our own trade agreements. The alternative is the fascism of corporate control.

• See companion articles:

TTIP: a dagger aimed at Britain's sovereignty

TTIP: The Tufts study

The holy freedoms of capitalism