By World Developement Movment (https://www.flickr.com/photos/wdm/14657251391/) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Yesterday I looked in stunned disbelief at the headline in The Independent – ‘Philip Morris International threatens to sue Government if plain packaging introduced’, with a picture of a cigarette pack beneath it. Something we have all been fearing with this Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership has already begun . . . And the deal hasn’t been ratified yet as I understand it!!
What does Philip Morris know that we don’t was my first response, closely followed by “If this is the beginning, where will it all end?” As a Society we have been nurturing the abolition of smoking for many years now. Laws have been passed that would now appear to be totally worthless with this agreement, undermining the very fabric of our democracy.
And what happens if Philip Morris win an obscene ‘profits over health’ action such as this. Does it create a precedent for the other brands to jump on the bandwagon and take our Government for zillions? Let’s not forget that this is taxpayer money we are talking about here. What you have is a lunatic situation where a corporation could take our money without selling any of its products because of this crass agreement . . . Corporate Utopia!
If we then follow this to its logical conclusion we will have sports car and motorcycle manufacturers suing the Government because of the 70 mph speed limit on motorways as it is harming sales of their speedy machines and impeding profits. An identical situation to cigarettes I would suggest, where legislation designed to safeguard our welfare is restricting profit growth.
Far more frightening to me is what havoc could be wreaked upon our food, as manufacturers sue because they are banned from using additives to prolong the life of their products and the knock on effect to their bottom line. Let’s face it their track record is already worrying, particularly in the case of companies such as the king of GM, Monsanto! Continue reading