Category Archives: The democratic deficit

Putting Democracy above the Bottom Line

Kelle Louaillier writes

This month, we will have a chance to chart a course toward a stronger, safer global society, where power belongs to the many, not to the few, and where those who have run roughshod over our environment, human rights, and public health will be held accountable. I am not talking about the United States’ presidential election.

To be sure, the US election will be immensely consequential; but endless punditry and horserace politics have obscured two groundbreaking events that begin on November 7: meetings of the parties to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).Global corporations are enormous, and their influence affects almost every aspect of our lives. To understand the reach of their power, one must look no further than the billions of dollars they spend on elections; their lobbying to gut worker and environmental protections in trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership; and fossil-fuel corporations’ relentless drive to derail climate-change policy.

Global corporations have disproportionate power because they can operate across national borders, which means that no single local or national government can effectively regulate them. The crucial function of international frameworks such as the FCTC and UNFCCC is to provide concrete tools for governments to set national policies on issues ranging from public health to climate change and global inequality.

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Wikileaks reveals the biggest most secret trade deal of them all – the one the banks want

Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), which has spent the last two years taking shape behind the hermetically sealed doors of highly secure locations around the world, has been leaked.  See the Wikileaks page:

This leak wasn’t supposed to have happened, these negotiations were ultra secret: but it did.

TiSA is arguably the most important – yet least well-known – of the new generation of global trade agreements. According to WikiLeaks, it “is the largest component of the United States’ strategic ‘trade’ treaty triumvirate,” which also includes the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Pact (TTIP)

TiSA would involve more countries than TTIP and TPP combined: The United States and all 28 members of the European Union, + Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan and Turkey.

The draft Financial Services Annex of TiSA, published by Wikileaks in June 2014, would allow financial institutions, such as banks, to transfer data freely, including personal data, from one country to another – in direct contravention of EU data protection laws. It would also effectively strip signatory governments of all remaining ability to regulate the financial industry in the interest of depositors, small-time investors, or the public at large.

See analysis by “The Public Citizen”:


The Tories Won the Vote, but They’re Losing Britain

Gary Younge writes

In the end, the only reliable poll in the United Kingdom’s recent elections was the one that people cast at the ballot box. The surveys leading up to the election all suggested a close race, with the two main parties, Labour and the Conservatives, finishing within a few percentage points. The outcome seemed certain to be a coalition government. Indeed, with the exception of Scotland, the campaigns had been so dull that the most interesting thing about the whole process promised to be the horse trading in its immediate aftermath.

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The British election results are going to be a mess: how to get out of it

Adam Morrow writes:

As the election looms into sight, five things which have long seemed probable now appear to be likely.

First, the odds are that Labour, the SNP, Plaid Cymru, the SDLP, the Greens and Sylvia Hermon will between them have a small parliamentary majority. The polls have moved a little towards the Tories, and they may yet go even further. But they’d have to quicken their pace significantly, or be systemically wrong, for MPs from the remaining parties to have the 323 seats they’ll likely need. Of course either of those things is very possible. But the parties of the left go into polling week with an advantage.

Second, it seems probable that the Conservatives remain the biggest single party, both by vote share and by MP numbers. Even if they don’t overall, they are very likely to be the biggest party in England.

Third, the SNP will romp home, turning a huge chunk of the Scottish map yellow.

Fourth, Miliband won’t attempt any formal pact. Instead, he will try to form a minority government, proposing his programme bit by bit to the Commons, and winning where Labour’s ideas command the support of a majority of MPs.

Finally, the right wing press and the Conservatives will find any excuse they can to declare that Miliband isn’t a legitimate Prime Minister (see entries on the prospective Coup by the Tory Press)

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