OPPOSITION in Scotland to the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is growing, almost daily it seems. Local groups opposing TTIP are springing up across the country.

At the last count there were groups in Aberdeen, St Andrews, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Fife and the Highlands.

Next weekend the nationwide ‘Scotland Against TTIP’ coalition holds its launch event.

The coalition is a far-reaching alliance of fourteen organisations, including seven trades union bodies, environment and food organisations, and social justice and anti-austerity campaigners.

We expect that the coalition will grow, as more and more people realise that Scotland’s democratic powers could be traded away.

TTIP is being touted as a trade deal; something that’ll allow goods to flow more easily between the EU and US. But it’s much more than that. TTIP is a transfer of power from democratically elected governments to transnational corporations on a scale not seen before.

Its aim is to reduce or take away barriers to trade. But since trade tariffs between the EU and US are already very low, what this really means is that standards and regulations put in place by governments to protect public health, the environment, workers’ rights and many other things could be targeted.

Supporters of TTIP call this “levelling the playing field” but it will actually create an unbalanced system that favours transnational companies. It will give them freedom of movement for capital, goods, and services, as well as the ability to sue governments in secret courts, but will ask nothing of them in return.

Under TTIP, it’s conceivable that the Scottish Government could be sued by transnational companies if they perceive their profits to be threatened by its public policy decisions.

So, US oil and gas companies, for example, might sue over the moratorium on fracking, or if regulations on climate change emissions were tightened. Or big tobacco might do the same if further smoking bans or tighter tobacco-control regulations were brought in.

And Scotland’s treasured public services, such as the NHS and Scottish Water, could also be at risk. Where there is privatisation in any part of Scotland’s public services, then TTIP could mean contracts being opened up to US companies.

The UK Government, in its support for TTIP, is negotiating away Scotland’s power to protect its natural heritage, its public services and the health of its people, and is handing power to big business. It’s vital the Scottish Government and Scottish politicians say no to TTIP.