"One of the biggest failures of Tony Blair's first term was missing the public mood on genetically modified food and crops," said a Guardian article only yesterday, while the Scotsman today points out that GM foods, unlike the issues at the front of the UK's main political parties manifestoes, concern every sector of British society.
Now amidst the deepening British Farming Crisis, which even caused the postponement of the current election from the date originally planned, the Prime Minister is seeking to show that he is attending to the problems in the countryside.
Tony Blair has responded to pleas to visit agricultural Norfolk during the current general election campaign. Blair failed to visit the area during the last election, nor has he come here at any time since.
This he will do this Friday. And where will Blair be visiting?
Where else but the John Innes Centre with its multi-million pound Sainsbury Centre (financed by his GM-enthusiast cabinet colleague and multi-million-pound party donor: the former food industrialist, Lord Sainsbury) and a Director who proudly proclaims he is 'FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT FOR GM CROPS'
How very appropriate.
"One of the biggest failures of Tony Blair's first term was missing the public mood on genetically modified food and crops. Despite [an] unprecedented revolt by consumers, Tony Blair, while avoiding mention of the issue at all, remains a GM enthusiast... Currently there is no market in Britain for GM food and most chains are also banning GM crops from animal feed... Despite all this, full scale trials of genetically modified crops are under way, even though there is serious public opposition... The perception that the prime minister is a pushover for big business interests is partly tied up with his perceived lack of interest in genuine public concerns about the consequences of embracing this technology."
The Guardian, May 14, 2001
The debate nobody wants - GM
'Topics banished to the back of the manifestos, such as genetic research, conservation, animal welfare and poverty, appear to be those engaging growing numbers of the public. And, as our survey clearly demonstrates, these are matters embraced not just by the young, educated middle classes. It is the older age groups who are most concerned about the plight of the countryside, while GM foods concern the lower socio-economic sections of society as much as the ABC1s.' The Scotsman, May 15, 2001 ...PEOPLE FRET OVER GLOBAL ISSUES