Nick Clegg - would you buy a used TTIP from this man? Photo: Liberal Democrats via Flickr.com.
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Leaked memo: now Libdems are running scared of the Greens
10th March 2014
The LibDems fear the Greens will beat them in the Euro-elections, writes Rupert Read. Now they plan to use Green opposition to the 'corporate charter' TTIP trade deal to batter the Greens on 'jobs'.
Our Government wants people to be kept in the dark about this dreadful deregulation charter.
The Green Party has today received a leaked confidential campaign memo from the LibDems' Head of National Campaigns.
It reveals that they intend to attack the Greens in the forthcoming Euro-elections by claiming that:
- the Greens are the "anti-jobs party";
- the Green Party consists of "dinosaur left-wingers that are more red than green."
- Green opposition to the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Programme) could cost the UK economy "thousands of jobs and an extra £10 billion" of economic activity.
In the run-up to the European Elections, the memo shows that the LibDems are running scared of the Greens, and are resorting to their usual dirty-politics tactics of smears and fibs.
From Liberal to Neo-liberal
It also lays bare their pro-large-corporations agenda. The LibDems are going to use their support for the neo-liberal TTIP Treaty - which some are dubbing the 'Business Against Democracy' law (BAD law for short) - as a stick to beat with which to beat the Green Party.
They will also use it to attack Plaid Cymru, which shares the Green Party's anti-TTIP stance and sits with the Green Group in the European Parliament - the only major grouping in the EP to stand against TTIP.
For the LibDems, the TTIP is all benefit. But they fail to note widespread concerns that the deal is actually a neo-liberal corporate wet-dream that will undermine democracy both in the EU and in the US.
It provides for unaccountable 'arbitration tribunals' to decide on complaints made by corporations against states that, they claim, are restricting their free trade 'rights'. The tribunals could over-rule laws in the EU and US that protect the environment, labour rights and consumer protection.
Who stands to benefit? People or corporations?
Moreover many trade specialists doubt that the deal would deliver the claimed benefit. A senior NGO source, unaffiliated to the Greens, who has seen the memo, described the jobs figures in the LibDem memo as "bogus".
Indeed many fear that the TTIP would - like NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement - boost corporate profits while destroying jobs.
The most crucial segment of the LibDem memo reads: (More below):
"The Greens are the anti-jobs party that want to spend, spend and spend taxpayers' money again. They have opposed the EU-US free trade agreement which could bring thousands of jobs and an extra £10 billion to the UK economy, and have rejected a freeze in the European Parliament's budget. The truth is that the Greens are dinosaur left-wingers that are more red than green."
A LibDem Euro-wipeout on the way
The fact that the LibDems are preparing this attack on the Greens reveals one key fact. The increasingly unpopular party are deeply scared of an electoral wipe-out in the May Euro-elections.
Only last week a pensioner dressed as Elvis beat the LibDems in a council by-election in Clifton North, Nottingham. Lib Dem candidate Tony Marshall coming last with only 56 votes. A LibDem spokesman jested that the party was "all shook up" - as they ought to be!
There is a good likelihood that the Green Party nationally - and Plaid Cymru in Wales - will defeat them. If the Green Party beats the Libdems in the European elections - as it did in the London elections in London two years ago, which use proportional representation - Clegg may be toppled and the Coalition Government fall apart prematurely.
No wonder that the LibDems are prepared to resort to smears in defence of their overtly right-wing agenda!
Greens hit back
Today, the Green Party is hitting back against the LibDems over TTIP. Keith Taylor, Green MEP for South East England, has co-written a report that slams TTIP with London's Green MEP Jean Lambert - and has denounced the LibDems for their complicity and lies about it.
He said today: "Though huge chunks of this trade deal are shrouded in secrecy what we do know is that TTIP poses a very real threat to the quality of life of people in the UK.
"It's astounding that the Lib Dems, a party with the word 'democrat' in their name, are attacking those who want to protect Brits from a trade deal written by big business.
"This deal, favoured by multinationals, threatens to slash regulations that protect our environment and health. But, most worryingly, it represents a serious threat to democracy in our country.
"Though our Government wants people to be kept in the dark about this dreadful deregulation charter, I have no doubt that the movement against it is bound to go from strength to strength."
TTIP must be scrapped
Taylor is demanding that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) be scrapped. He has labelled the negotiations as "undemocratic" and "a threat to the rights and protections we hold dear".
His report is released today as the fourth round of negotiations between the EU and the USA begin in Brussels. The report claims that TTIP brings multiple threats to the sovereignty of the UK, US and other countries including:
- the prospect of multinational companies suing national governments if laws are passed which threaten profitability, or even strike down existing laws;
- the watering down of environmental, health & safety and workplace regulations to achieve 'harmonization' with the lower standards that prevail in the USA;
- forcing fracking onto unwilling countries and communities.
A personal view
I write as a former LibDem (who got out over a decade ago) and as a Green candidate for the Euro-elections. That means I know all about how the LibDem party works and the smears, lies and subterfuge to which they resort for electoral advantage, as I recently set out on Open Democracy.
That leaves me somewhat less astounded at this leaked memo than Keith - though still taken aback at the sheer desperation of what they are planning to avoid being knocked into fifth or sixth place behind Labour, Tories, UKIP, Greens, Plaid Cymru and the Scots Nationalists.
But the message is also a heartening one for the Greens. LibDem polling must be telling the LibDems that the Greens represent a threat to them - one too serious to ignore.
We Greens must now take the fight onto their turf and expose the LibDems for what they are - not a democratic party of the soggy liberal centre, but a hard-right neoliberal party prepared to sell out Britain's historic freedoms and national independence for a bowl of corporate pottage.
The leaked memo
The European elections are only a few short months away.
As one of the Liberal Democrat key activists in the country, I wanted to write to you with details of the Party's message in the run up to
this crucial set of elections.
The campaign is an unashamedly pro-jobs message to voters. We are the party of "In".
Please use the message document below in your campaigns, in leaflets, on doorsteps and in interviews.
We need to be the strong voice for being "In Europe, In Work" while taking the fight to the other parties for putting millions of British jobs at risk.
Head of National Campaigns, LibDems
CONFIDENTIAL: Messaging Document
IN EUROPE, IN WORK
Liberal Democrats want Britain to stay in the EU because we are fighting for a stronger economy - millions of British jobs are linked to our trade with the EU, and being in Europe gives us more strength when negotiating trade deals with global players like the US, China, India and Brazil. We are the party of in - In Europe, In Work. Liberal Democrats are working to defend millions of British jobs, create millions more and put thousands of pounds back in your pocket by making it easier for British companies to export and slashing red tape for small businesses.
Fighting for a Greener Future
WHY YOU SHOULDN'T VOTE FOR OTHER PARTIES
The Greens are the anti-jobs party that want to spend, spend and spend taxpayers' money again. They have opposed the EU-US free trade agreement which could bring thousands of jobs and an extra £10 billion to the UK economy, and have rejected a freeze in the European Parliament's budget. The truth is that the Greens are dinosaur left-wingers that are more red than green.
A vote for Plaid is a vote for independence which will put thousands of jobs at risk. Plaid's commitment to leaving the UK would put thousands of jobs and billions of pounds of investment at risk. Plaid have consistently voted against job creating measures such as the EU-US free trade agreement which could bring thousands of jobs and an extra £10 billion to the UK economy.
Rupert Read is Green Party Transport Spokesperson, and lead MEP-candidate for the East of England at this year's European Elections. Website: www.rupertread.net. Twitter: @GreenRupertRead (political) or @RupertRead (personal).
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