A treaty for big business

Tobacco companies could sue governments for losses caused by a law that stops children taking up smoking. Government could be prevented from taking Royal Mail into public ownership again. Keeping East Coast railways in public hands would become illegal. All of things are will become possible if the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) treaty passes.

Currently being discussed by the European Union, the treaty would substantially increase the protection enjoyed by corporations from regulation, taxation and the public interest. It would be a charter to profit at the cost of all of us.

Of all the major political parties, only Greens have been campaigning against these powers being handed to corporations. The Westminster parties are caught in a bind on this - they've long since been bought by those corporations that will benefit from this and their interests. From direct political donations to the currying favour with the corporate press, these political parties are totally in hock to the corporate pound.

A political class that is paid for by corporations will, of course, act for corporations. That's why they were so slow to crack down on big tobacco. That's why they are all in favour of privatisation and tax cuts for the rich. That's why our democracy has been hollowed out. It’s why government doesn’t act for us.

For too long our politicians have flogged public assets like water and electricity and destroyed our public services. This treaty will allow a substantial acceleration in the plunder of our shared wealth.

So it's something we must oppose. But while stopping the treaty is a daunting prospect it is a campaign we can win.

Given the huge powers that corporations stand to gain from this treaty it is only the latest occasion on which a similar proposal has been put forward. On each occasion it has been defeated by doughty campaigning.

In fact it was a previous proposal to strip government of its power to regulate business, stop workers being exploited and frankly, to govern that sparked my interest in politics. In the late 1990s the Multilateral Agreement on Investment contained many of the proposal in TTIP. We defeated this Agreement by campaigning to elected politicians. We voted for politicians who opposed it. And we worked hard to make sure everyone was aware of the potential impact of the Agreement.

This time we can do the same. Freeing ourselves from the corporate-dominated Westminster political elite will make this all the more possible. And having a Scottish seat at the table will allow us to have more of a voice. Only independence allows us to make this case at the top table.

The TTIP would destroy any chance for us to give people more control over their lives. It would destroy democracy and it would create a corporate dystopia. The criminal loss of life caused by the tobacco industry and asbestos will pale in comparison with the loss of life caused by corporations set free from the rule of law.

We must raise this issue as part of the referendum debate with our already elected representatives. We need to talk about it to our friends and colleagues. We need to get on the streets to oppose it. I will ensure that this issue is at the heart of campaigning, and I will do all I can to stop it.