Vince Cable has a great political instinct for predicting the downfalls in economic situations. After predicting the 2008 economic crisis he is now consistently raising the alarm about the potential pitfalls associated with a UK-US trade agreement which may result from Brexit. Recently he pointed out that the NHS could be used as a bargaining tool in any such agreement.
In his tweet above, Vince refers to the lowering of food standards. There are already moves afoot by group of right-wing and libertarian groups in the United Kingdom to do this. They are secretly planning to lobby Ministers for a free trade agreement with the USA that would lift a current ban on everyday essential items consisting of meat, chemicals and drugs.
Many Brexiters see the EU as over-regulated, compared to a much more liberalized set of standards in the United States. Were they to get their way, British regulators could allow chlorinated chicken and hormone-reared beef to be imported and sold in the UK for the first time.
Alarmingly, the plans call for the EU’s ‘Precautionary Principle’ — which places an onus on traders to prove that something is safe before it is sold — to be scrapped.
The plans came to light when these were mistakenly published online by the Initiative for Free Trade (IFT), which leads the group. The other members are the Heritage Foundation, keen to see repeal of environmental protections, and the Cato Institute, funded in part by the brothers Charles and David Koch — who are well known for their influence over the policy platform of the Republican Party.
I originally wrote a shorter version of this article for DiEM25 which has argued against a deregulatory agenda that will lower the standard of living of people and lead to further inequality. Diem25 was launched in 2016 and is co-founded by Yanis Varoufakis, the former finance minister of Greece.