Letters: US trade deal cedes British sovereignty

These letters appear in the Friday 4th issue of The Independent

Share

Unite is absolutely right to highlight the risk to the NHS posed by the trade deal currently being negotiated with the US (“PM must exclude NHS from EU-US trade deal or it could be sued, union warns”, 3 July). Many other aspects of life in the UK are also threatened.

The deal seeks to “harmonise” European and American food, safety and environmental regulation, which in reality would mean slashing our hard-won standards to match much lower US levels. So products such as hormone-treated beef and pork, and chicken washed in chlorine, sold by US companies but currently banned here, could appear on supermarket shelves in the UK.

Education would also be affected, as American companies are being offered the chance to get involved in public education, from primary level right through to university.

David Cameron claims to be fighting for national sovereignty in his dealings with the EU, but in pushing for this deal, he is ceding our sovereignty to multinational companies. The deal is a corporate power-grab, and should be abandoned.

Nick Dearden

Director, World Development Movement, London SW9

 

Reading about punitive US sanctions on European banks made me realise that there was a historical parallel.

Britain fought for more than 20 years against revolutionary and Napoleonic France, and during those wars imposed trade sanctions against neutral powers which were exporting contraband goods to France.

The Royal Navy enforced that policy by stopping and searching neutral merchantmen and impounding goods and ships that were breaking our embargo. This policy annoyed the US merchants concerned and resulted in the largely naval war of 1812. Though we had the satisfaction of burning the White House, they had the last laugh by soundly defeating us at the Battle of New Orleans – after the war had already ended in a draw. Should we conclude anything from this?

Peter Milner

Shrewsbury

 

Can anyone tell me why we allow the USA to dictate who we trade with? I can accept that we should not trade with terrorist organisations, but why cannot we trade with Cuba? This is a peaceful country whose only “misdemeanour” is that its leaders will not kneel down and grovel to the world’s leading litigious society.

Malcolm Howard

Banstead, Surrey

 

Overdose of blame for GPs

Jane Merrick (3 July) blames GPs for the loss of effectiveness of antibiotics. As a retired GP I remember spending an inordinate amount of time explaining to patients why the use of antibiotics needed to be restricted, and that the course ought to be completed in order to avoid resistance building up. Considerable airtime has been given to this topic on television and radio.

There has, however, been a deafening silence on the role of antibiotic use by vets and farmers, particularly in rearing poultry, where I understand antibiotics are used regularly in the prevention of infection.

We all have a responsibility in this matter, not just one group.

Dr Christine Wood

Penistone, South Yorkshire

 

How the state could fix pensions

You are right to call for National Insurance to be abolished (editorial, 30 June); it has many anomalies. Most of the benefits should always have been financed out of general taxation, but the provision for pensions is different. Pension provision should have been funded.

The cash that my employers and I paid for the pensions element of the scheme should have been held in trust and invested to provide the funds needed to finance my pension. The cost should not fall upon my children and grandchildren. In my case the cost of an annuity to fund my pension would be about £78,000; a hidden debt. As the average age increases we are now creating ever higher levels of hidden debt.

There is little incentive for taxpayers to contribute to the private pension and annuity schemes which have proved to be so unsatisfactory in the past. The state could operate a guaranteed pension scheme which would encourage taxpayers to make proper provision for their retirement. It is essential that they do so to limit the social security benefits which future governments would need to fund.

The state could run a funded pension scheme with a guaranteed return of say inflation plus 2 per cent coupled with guaranteed annuity rates. This would enable contributors to know what their retirement income would be.

The state could invest the fund in for example residential mortgages, new rented housing and small businesses. It should make a profit, but even if it didn’t the saving in social security cost would make the scheme worthwhile.

The greatest benefit from such a scheme is that it could be used to replace the final salary schemes provided for public employees, thus eliminating the great difference between public and private employment.

Clive Georgeson

Dronfield, Derbyshire

 

What won’t happen on the West Bank

As is well known it is anti-Semitic to suggest that either Zionism or the Israeli state is racist. I would therefore expect, in the wake of the kidnapping and murder of a Palestinian child, for the Israeli state to behave in exactly the same way as it did when three Israeli children were kidnapped and murdered.

I am confident that the army will search the homes of thousands of settlers. That prominent settler leaders will be detained and that the source of this and similar attacks, the terrorist nests of settlements such as Kiryat Arba, will be subject to bombing from the air.

Of course none of the above is conceivable. This is the real problem in Israel and no amount of “peace” negotiations that permit the war process to continue will make any difference. Until Israel becomes a state of its own people, Jewish and non-Jewish, and not a supremacist Jewish state, the situation will continue indefinitely. 

Tony Greenstein

Brighton

 

Has all humanity left the Middle East? It sickens me that four teenagers have been murdered. They are teenagers; it doesn’t matter that three are Jewish and one Muslim. Each has parents, friends and until recently a future.

The inevitable reprisals have started. It would be refreshing to hear that both sides are dealing with these murders in the way most societies would and working together to investigate them, find the perpetrators and bring them to justice. That would reassure many of us who look on dismayed at the constant violence in the Middle East.

Marcus Stanton

Kingston, Surrey

 

A grievous blow to jazz

The news that the Arts Council has chosen to axe its funding to Jazz Services Ltd – our national organisation for debate, information and financial support – is the most grievous blow to our music since the organisation opened its doors in 1967.

For those in the profession who have watched with dismay jazz’s submergence amid the rock culture – as well as its incomprehensible but triumphant survival nonetheless – the news may not come as a shock. But we have a society which is once again open to the sounds of jazz, major colleges offering degrees in the music, and new generations of young jazz musicians enriching our artistic heritage year after year. In view of all that, the Arts Council’s decision-makers can be seen only as fools who fail to recognise that art does not, by definition, need to starve in a garret.

As a professional jazz musician of 40 years, I say: shame on them.

Digby Fairweather

Westcliff on Sea, Essex

 

Investment in wind power

You report (“Green power”, 27 June) that experts in the renewable energy business “are concerned that Conservative Party opposition to renewable energy could [deter] investors”. 

On the contrary, it has encouraged me to invest in an onshore wind turbine development, supported by the local community, to demonstrate that I am rather more farsighted than the “spoils the view” brigade, who probably use as much, or more, power than the rest of us. 

Or are they relying on a short-term “dash for gas” for our future power needs? I bet they don’t believe in climate change either.

John Davis

Harpenden, Hertfordshire

 

Why did the press miss the big story?

It remains a mystery why for so many years some tabloid journalists were prepared to break the criminal law to provide their readers with a circulation-boosting diet of celebrity infidelity, yet they completely failed to help to bring to public attention Jimmy Savile’s sexual abuses, which had been going on for decades.

It would surely have served their argument for an unrestrained press far better had they been able to provide a genuine public service.

Mark Albrow

Hampton,  Middlesex

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: Outgunned by a lack of military knowledge

Guy Keleny
Ukip leader Nigel Farage in Tiny Tim’s tea shop while canvassing in Rochester this week  

General Election 2015: What on earth happened to Ukip?

Matthew Norman
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions