We’d like to thank everyone who joined us for a very successful lobby of Kirklees Council and deputation supporting the Green Party’s TTIP Free Zone motion on 23rd March. Sadly, other business in the council meeting meant that there was not time to debate or vote on the motion but we expect it to be re-tabled, probably for the June meeting.
23rd March was a really important milestone in the campaign. We were delighted with the turn-out for the lobby, at which trade unionists were well-represented. We gave out almost all of our 60 packs for councillors, including a War on Want leaflet on TTIP and Global Justice Now’s TTIP briefing for local authorities .
The ‘TTIP-Free’ Kirklees deputation speech to the council was also worthwhile. Again, we’d like to thank people who joined us in the council chamber. You can watch the deputation on the council broadcast here http://connect.kirklees.public-i.tv/site/player/pl_v7.php?a=206538&t=&m=flash&l=en_GB (From 01.52mins- 06.59mins)
We outlined the general concerns about TTIP (that it will increase the powers of corporations at the expense of social and environmental standards as well as, most importantly, democracy) and the specific concerns about its impact on local government (threatening, for example, its existing powers over planning and procurement decisions).
We argued that a TTIP Free Zone motion is not purely symbolic. While it would not prevent TTIP being implemented or protect Kirklees from the impacts of TTIP, passing the motion would result in an important conversation with central government, would be part of a wider movement of council resolutions across the UK, Europe and USA and would allow local government to raise its voice on local democracy.
Our deputation ended with these words:
This evening, some of you may have been given a copy of this leaflet by the highly respected organisation War on Want. It provides a good introduction to TTIP and expresses its concerns in six chilling words. “TTIP will change our lives forever.”
The good news is that, probably more than any previous trade deal, people have realised this and are expressing their concerns. Indeed, even people who do not oppose TTIP outright, like the Labour MEPs in our region, welcome the spotlight this has put on elements they object to, like clauses allowing for secret corporate tribunals and lowering of food, environmental and safety regulations.
We all have a different part to play in ensuring that TTIP does not change our lives forever: We hope that this evening, passing a motion as a council opposing TTIP and standing with dozens of other authorities across the UK, Europe and America will be a part you choose to play.
Once again, we would like to thank the Green Party for tabling the motion. We have been assured that they will be re-tabling the motion in the future. Because local elections are approaching, the next date when this can happen will be June. We would also like to thank Huddersfield TUC and UNISON for the platforms they have given us recently and everyone who has signed the petition or spread the word.
In the meantime, we’ve been given another three months’ campaigning time! We will be collecting more names for the petition, continuing to raise awareness and, once again, lobbying councillors on the day of the potential vote. We’ll let you know details of the June lobby once the motion has been re-tabled.
If you have not done so, please sign the petition for the council to pass a TTIP Free Zone motion on www.ttipfreezone.org
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